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Teen hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after SUV rollover on I-70

Driver also at shock trauma center after vehicle carrying seven family members blows tire, crashes

June 27, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • An SUV was involved in a rollover crash Tuesday afternoon which temporarily closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 between Md. 66 and U.S. 40.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A 17-year-old girl was in the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with life-threatening injuries and her father was there with a serious hand injury Wednesday, a day after after the sport utility vehicle he was driving overturned multiple times when a tire blew on eastbound Interstate 70, according to Maryland State Police.

Christopher Nnabuihe Nwachukwu, 52, of Baltimore, one of seven family members in the 2002 Mercury Mountaineer, lost control of the SUV at about 2:38 p.m. near Mapleville Road after the left rear tire blew, state police said in a news release.

After the vehicle rolled on the interstate, it struck the end of a guardrail and came to rest in a grassy area on the shoulder, the release said.

State police, relying on independent witness statements, said excessive speed did not appear to be a factor in the crash.

Nwachukwu’s 17-year-old daughter, who was later identified by a hospital spokeswoman as Jessica Nwachukwu, was partially ejected from the vehicle, Trooper 1st Class William Talbert said.

Jessica Nwachukwu was in critical condition Wednesday morning, hospital spokeswoman said.

Everyone in the SUV was wearing seat belts, the release said.

Nwachukwu’s 49-year-old wife and their four other children, ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old, were also passengers in the SUV, Talbert said.

His wife and the other four children— three boys and a girl — were transported to Meritus Medical Center, Talbert said.

One of the children taken to Meritus Medical Center, a 6-year-old boy, had serious injuries but they did not appear to be life threatening, according to Talbert.

Nwachukwu was initially taken to Meritus Medical Center but was later flown to the shock trauma center, Talbert said. His injury was not life threatening, although he will require surgery, he said.

Nwachukwu was in serious but stable condition Wednesday morning, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The eastbound lanes of I-70 were closed for about two hours after the crash. The westbound lanes were also shut down briefly while a state police helicopter landed on the westbound side to transport the 17-year-old girl to Baltimore, police said.

Debris was scattered along eastbound I-70 after the crash. Eastbound I-70 traffic was detoured onto eastbound U.S. 40 while rescue crews worked at the scene, police said.

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