Fatal I-70 Crash In Washington Co. Under Investigation

State Police report heavy rain and limited visibility at the time of the crash.


Hancock, Md. (KM) A Maryland man was killed early Friday morning in a two-vehicle crash on eastbound Interstate 70 near Hancock. State Police say Allen Kifer of Barton, 53, was the driver of a car which struck a jackknifed tracker trailer along the highway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

At around 2:30 AM, troopers say the tractor trailer operated by Demetrio Catapang of Ontario, Canada, was traveling eastbound on I-70 when for unknown reasons he lost control of this truck which jackknifed across the eastbound lanes. Kifer’s struck the tractor trailer.

After he got out of his vehicle, Kifer was struck by a tractor trailer operated by Timothy Beckering, 38,of Stanton, Pa. Kifer was pronounced deceased at the scene.

State Police say as traffic backed up behind the first crash scene, a second crash took place 20-minutes later about a mile away. In that one, a tractor trailer operated by Alexander Evchenko, 54, of Quebec, was stopped in traffic. It was hit by a second big rig driven by Robert Wakins, 53, of Lakeland, Ga. The impact caused a fire in Watkins’ vehicle. He was transported by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown.

Troopers at the scene say there was heavy rain in the area at the time, and visibility was reduced. But the cause of the two crashes remains under investigation.

As traffic back up due to the accident, a second crash occurred about one mile away where one tractor trailer rear-ended another. The operator of one of the big rigs was 53-year-old Robert Watkins of Lakeland, Georgia. He was taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown.

State Troopers report that there was heavy rain in the area and visibility was reduced at the time of the two crashes, but their causes remain  under investigation.

Because of the two crashes, State Police had to close eastbound I-70 to the Pennsylvania line. The highway reopened at 11:30 AM.

The Maryland State Police CRASH Team responded to the scene to conduct an investigation. They were assisted by troopers from the Hagerstown Barrack and the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.

No charges have been filed at this time. When the investigation is completed, State Police say they¬† will be reviewing their findings with the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office.

By Kevin McManus