Maryland State Police Continue To Investigate Deadly I-70 Crash

The wreck closed the highway for about 7 hours on Wed.

Frederick, Md (KM)  A deadly, multi-vehicle crash in Frederick Wednesday morning remains under investigation.

State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo says one dump truck operated by Richard Aldar, 53, of Sykesville, stopped in lane three of westbound Interstate 70 near the I-270 ramp due to a Congressional  motorcade passing through. A second dump truck driven by Mark Tew, 27, of Hanover, also stopped, as did a Nissan Rogue. Meanwhile, a third dump truck operated by Shawn Gill, 46, of Gaithersburg, crashed into the rear of the Rogue. The impact caused all four vehicles to collide into each other.

“And after the impact of these four vehicles, an explosion occurred for unknown reasons–at this time, of course, it still under investigation. Two of the dump trucks and the  SUV became completely engulfed in flames,” says Russo.

The driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. She says that person’s identity has not been confirmed. “There was not much for investigators at the scene to go by in terms of identifying the victim who was trapped in that SUV, which was engulfed in flames. Unfortunately, we’re still working to identify that victim,” says Russo.

The dump truck drivers Gill and Tew were transported to Frederick Memorial Hospital; Aldar refused treatment, State Police say.

Russo says that area of westbound I-70 was closed for about seven hours while troopers conducted an investigation, and to allow for cleanup to take place.

Russo says the investigation into this crash is still continuing. “Our CRASH Team investigators as well as our Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division are working to really put together the information that they’re able to get from not just from witnesses but evidence and their inspections of commercial vehicles to decide why this happened,” she said.

State Police say charges are pending in connection with this crash.

In a statement, US Capitol Police say officers were escorting the Congressional motorcade to Shepardstown, West Virginia, where a Senate Democratic Retreat was taking place. The agency also says its officers rendered  aid and assistance after the accident. None of the Congressional motorcade vehicles was  involved in the crash.

Meanwhile, Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen issued a statement expressing sympathies for the victims and their families. “Our prayers and condolences go out to the families of the victims of this crash today {Wed}. We are heartbroken that a traffic stop on a busy Maryland road ended in such a tragic way.”

The statement goes on to say that Senators Cardin and Van Hollen traveled to the retreat in their personal vehicles and were not part of the motorcade.


By Kevin McManus