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County faces suit over crash

July 31, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Washington County is among the defendants named in a civil suit filed Friday by the family of a Keedysville couple killed in a motorcycle accident in August 2006.

The suit seeks $16 million per death.

Albert Sylvester Crummitt Jr., 49, lost control of the 2004 Harley-Davidson motorcycle he was riding when he attempted to stop to avoid colliding with a tractor-trailer that was traveling in front of him in the southbound lane on Md. 67 at the intersection of Kaetzel Road, according to the suit.

His wife, Sharon Louise Crummitt, 49, was a passenger on the motorcycle. Both died later that day at Washington County Hospital.

The motorcycle went on to its side and slid into the rear of a truck, according to the suit.

A 1985 International truck that was pulling a bulk trailer loaded with powdered cement had been slowed or stopped on the road as its driver, Dean Alan Poffenberger of Hagerstown, waited for work crews to move signs, police said.

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Poffenberger and the owner of the truck, Windfall Acres Inc., also are named in the suit.

Md. 67 was a temporary construction road at the time of the crash and should have been open to the safe, uninterrupted flow of traffic, according to the suit.

Poffenberger's vehicle swung wide and stopped in the southbound travel lane of Md. 67, so that lane was not open to traffic. He should have pulled his tractor-trailer on to the southbound shoulder, and he was negligent and careless because he didn't, according to the suit.

Washington County was the entity responsible for the roadway and owed it to the public to maintain Kaetzel Road in a safe and proper manner so that the road was in "reasonably safe condition," according to the suit. The county also was responsible for Md. 67, to the extent that dangerous conditions were created by the construction, the suit claims.

The couple's two adult children, Sharon Crummitt's parents and Albert Crummitt's parents are plaintiffs in the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for what they claim was a wrongful death and because the defendants created a nuisance on the highway, according to the suit.

Washington County's attorneys had not seen the suit Monday afternoon.

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