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Separate two-car wreck also requires helicopter response


Staff writer

A motorcyclist from Anne Arundel County remained in critical-but-stable condition on Tuesday morning at a hospital in Baltimore, authorities report, after his motorcycle struck a horse pulling a buggy last Thursday afternoon across Route 6 in New Market.

In a separate incident on Friday morning in Mechanicsville, a Waldorf man suffered life-threatening injuries when the car he was driving crossed the median of Route 235 into oncoming traffic, after a possible confrontation with the driver of a pickup truck, according to St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputies.

At about 3:34 p.m. Thursday, the sheriff’s office reports, Donald Lee Fridell Jr., 52, of Lothian and another motorcyclist were traveling west and side by side on Route 6 when the horse-and-buggy operated by 48-year-old Luna Hertzler Fisher of Mechanicsville turned left from the westbound shoulder to cross both lanes of the highway.

Fridell’s Harley Davidson struck the horse, and Fridell was thrown from the motorcycle before he and the motorcycle both landed in an eastbound shoulder ditch, according to the sheriff’s office. Fridell was unconscious when police arrived.

The other motorcyclist, 81-year-old Lawrence Francis Jones of Lothian, lost control of his motorcycle as he locked its rear brake, and he was ejected as it went to the ground, according to a release from the preliminary investigation by sheriff’s Cpl. Brian Connelly.

Jones was taken by an ambulance crew to the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

A Maryland State Police helicopter crew flew Fridell to the University of Maryland Hospital’s shock-trauma center in Baltimore.

No injuries to the buggy’s operator were reported. The injured horse was shot and killed at the scene.

The accident underscored the possibility of dangerous consequences when very different modes of transportation are in use on the same stretch of road, according to St. Mary’s sheriff and the chief of the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department.

“There’s more traffic, not only [involving people] living here, but visiting here,” Sheriff Tim Cameron (R) said Tuesday. “Everybody has to use utmost caution.”

Mechanicsville Fire Chief John Raley said that the need for responsibility rests with the operators of all conveyances — cars, trucks, motorcycles and the horse-drawn buggies.

“They need to be more aware of what’s around them, their surroundings,” Raley said. “People just need to slow down and take their time.”

The horse-drawn buggy drivers “have to operate on the same roads that we operate on,” the fire chief said, and for “people who move down here, it’s a new culture. We’re in a unique area.”

In Thursday’s collision, the sheriff said, “the horse and buggy turned completely in the path of the motorcycles, giving them no time to react at all.”

Cameron added that the people using the horse-drawn buggies have developed trails throughout their adjoining farms to reduce their need to travel on or along the highways.

The sheriff’s office has requested that anyone with information about Thursday’s accident call the agency at 301-455-4200, ext. 9010.

Information sought on truck after crash

Christopher Naoki Liggins, the 26-year-old Waldorf man injured in Friday’s 8:31 a.m. crash on Route 235 in Mechanicsville, remained Tuesday at the intensive-care unit of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputies report he arrived via a state police helicopter crew.

Witnesses told police that the driver of a silver Toyota pickup truck, bearing a Maryland agricultural registration tag, engaged in some sort of confrontation with Liggins, the sheriff’s office reports, and that the truck cut off Liggins’ 1995 Nissan 240SX before he lost control of the car and it crossed the grass median into the highway’s northbound lanes, and into the path of a northbound car.

The 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by 24-year-old Jeremy Patrick Clark of La Plata struck the driver’s side of Liggins’ car, according to the sheriff’s office. Clark declined medical care after the collision.

The pickup truck continued south on the highway to Oraville and turned left onto Route 6, the sheriff’s office reports.

The agency has requested that anyone with information about the truck or the accident call 301-475-4200, ext. 9010.