Hagerstown man killed, six others injured in crash on Md. 66

May 22, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

A Hagerstown man was killed and five other men were injured Wednesday morning in a crash at the intersection of Md. 66 and Interstate 70, Maryland State Police said.

Clifford J. Rice, 72, was killed when the 2003 Chevrolet Custom van in which he was riding drove into the path of a tractor-trailer, Trooper 1st Class Michael Ford said.

The driver of the van and four other passengers were taken to hospitals following the 7:30 a.m. accident.

Two of the passengers in the van, Jack Finniff, 63, of Hagerstown, and Gardner Stewart, 64, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., were flown by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Finniff was listed in critical, but stable condition, and Stewart was listed in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The driver of the van, Robin Poffenberger, 72, of Hagerstown, and two other passengers, Dennis Kendle, 65, of Hagerstown, and Gary Gruber, 63, of Clear Spring, were taken to Washington County Hospital.


Poffenberger was listed as a patient at the hospital Wednesday afternoon, but his condition was not available, a hospital spokeswoman said. Kendle and Gruber both were listed as patients in the hospital's emergency room, she said.

The men were members of the Road Runners, a senior league softball team, and were on their way to Olney, Md., for a softball tournament, police said.

The tractor-trailer driver, Vernon Holt Jr., 42, of Dundalk, Md., was taken to Washington County Hospital. He was alert and talking when he left the scene, police said.

The tractor-trailer is owned by Durrett Sheppard Steel, and was towing a flatbed trailer that was hauling steel.

The accident happened as the van was southbound on Md. 66 and the tractor-trailer was northbound, Ford said.

Poffenberger attempted a make a left turn onto eastbound Interstate 70 and drove into the path of the tractor-trailer, Ford said. Holt tried to put on the brakes, but was unable to stop, police said. Both vehicles came to rest in the northbound grass embankment.

The front of the tractor-trailer's cab was partially embedded in the side of the passenger van. Emergency workers tossed water bottles and what appeared to be softball equipment out of the van as they worked at the scene.

The northbound lane of Md. 66 was closed to traffic for several hours as troopers investigated the crash.

A Maryland State Police accident reconstructionist was called to the scene Wednesday morning. Troopers were photographing skid marks on Md. 66, where the tractor-trailer had attempted to put on the brakes.

Fire and emergency medical services personnel from Community Rescue Service, Smithsburg, Boonsboro, Funkstown and the Washington County Division of Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene, along with members of the Maryland State Police Crash Team and the State Highway Administration.

The investigation was continuing, police said.

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