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Second woman injured in crash on U.S. 40 dies

September 19, 2007|By HEATHER KEELS

BOONSBORO - A second woman involved in a three-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon on U.S. 40 near Mount Lena Road died Monday at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Darlene Sue Crowley, 54, of Boonsboro, worked as a grants analyst for the Washington County Office of Budget and Finance.

She and her twin brother, Doug Gatz, were in the back seat of a car returning from a dinner in Frederick to celebrate their recent birthday when the accident occurred, said Gatz' niece, Anne Marie Bohannon. Doug Gatz's wife, Madelyn Gatz, was driving. Her 84-year-old mother, Estrella Caraballo, was in the front passenger seat.

Caraballo died Sunday at Washington County Hospital, police said.

Maryland State Police said the family's white Nissan was westbound on U.S. 40 when it stopped to make a left turn onto Mount Lena Road around 5 p.m. An SUV collided with the Nissan, sending it into the oncoming traffic lane, where it collided with a Chrysler PT cruiser, police said.

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Bohannon said Crowley was very close to her brother. She had two sons, grandchildren and many friends, Bohannon said.

"Right to the end, she was very strong," Bohannon said. "It's just very sad."

Vladimir Corea, pastor of Highland View Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hagerstown, said Crowley was active in the church and stopped every afternoon on her way home from work to water the church's flowers.

"She was a very kind and giving person," Corea said. "I can't think of anyone else who was involved in so many things. She will definitely leave a big hole in the church."

Corea said Caraballo had been in the United States for less than a year after moving from Puerto Rico. She suffered from Alzheimer's and spoke limited English, but Corea, who speaks Spanish, helped welcome her to the community and remembers her as kind and gentle.

Funeral services for Crowley will be Friday morning at Highland View, Corea said. A memorial service is being planned for Caraballo, who will be buried in Puerto Rico, he said.

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