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Hancock man dead, two hurt in car crash west of Shamrock Inn

January 21, 2011
  • A one-vehicle accident on U.S. Rt. 40 just west of The Shamrock Inn left one person dead Friday night.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

A 19-year-old Hancock man was killed and two passengers in the car he was driving were seriously injured Friday night when the vehicle crashed into a ravine just west of the Shamrock Inn on U.S. 40, Maryland State Police said.

Thomas James Kratz was pronounced dead at the scene of the 7:26 p.m. crash, which occurred on National Pike near the Walnut Point Road intersection, police said.

Kratz was driving the white 1997 Toyota sedan west when, for unknown reasons, it went off the south side of the road and struck a tree before landing in the ravine, police said.

The front-seat passenger, 22-year-old Travis Michael Shives, and back-seat passenger, Joshua David Wertz, 20, both of Warfordsburg, Pa., were taken to Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown for treatment of serious injuries, police said.

Wertz was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown out of the rear window of the car, police said.

The vehicle was lying on its left side in the ravine. A Maryland state trooper at the crash site said the car became airborne when it left the road and hit the tree.

The medical examiner arrived at the scene at about 8:30 p.m.

Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Michael Reid said Kratz appeared to be wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred.

An ambulance from Williamsport responded to the call, as well as fire and ambulance units from Clear Spring, a Washington County Emergency Services dispatcher said.

State police said alcohol might have been a factor in the crash, and the investigation was continuing.

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