When a friend called Chris Nave and said Chris' father's pickup had been in an accident Friday morning, the young man drove from his Mount Airy home to the scene in Taylorsville.
Route 27 was blocked by police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, so he had to walk the last part of the distance.
Police stopped him as he got to the twisted, smoldering wreckage. They led him away to the relative privacy of a patrol car to tell him his father was dead.
Donald Alton Nave, 51, was killed when his pickup, swinging wide as he turned from Braddock Road onto Route 27, moved into the path of a tractor-trailer that could not stop before hitting it, police said. In seconds, both vehicles were in flames.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Charles William Mather, 28, of the 400 block of Wellham Ave. in Glen Burnie, was taken to Carroll County General Hospital for treatment and released.
Randy Bobzien of Westminster witnessed the accident as he followed Mr. Mather's tractor-trailer south on Route 27 from Westminster.
"We started up the hill from Liberty Road and picked up speed slightly on the short downhill," he said.
"We started up the hill toward Braddock Road, and suddenly I saw the cab of the tractor coming around to the left of the trailer.
"It jackknifed and collided with the pickup."
He said he didn't see the small truck before the crash.
"I stopped my van and started to run toward the crash and saw the gasoline pouring on the road and sparks in the gas, and suddenly it erupted into flames," Mr. Bobzien recalled.
"I ran back to my van and backed about 100 feet down the road and into a driveway and then ran back to the accident. Both drivers had been taken out of their vehicles by two men by that time. They must have been right behind the pickup."
The unidentified motorists, who were northbound on Route 27, came upon the crash within seconds and pulled the victims from their vehicles in an attempt to save them, state police said.
Mr. Nave was taken from his 1989 Nissan pickup while gasoline poured on the road and sparks were visible under the truck before it erupted into flames.
He was carried to a grassy area beside the road, where the motorists performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, police said.
Mr. Mather was pulled from the cab of his tractor by another motorist as the fire worked its way toward the big rig.
In a short time, the tractor was destroyed by the flames, which melted the fiberglass cab.
The rescue efforts of passers-by and fire personnel later could not save Mr. Nave, of the 5900 block of Eric Drive in Mount Airy.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. Richard Jones, associate medical examiner for Carroll County.
State police said he had severe facial and chest injuries. He had not been wearing a seat belt.
His wife, Judy Nave, operates the Forget Me Not Ltd. gift shop in the first block of E. Main St. in Westminster.
Police said they did not believe the friend who telephoned Chris Nave realized his father had been killed in the crash.
State police said Mr. Nave was westbound on Braddock Road and made a wide right turn, crossing the double yellow line on the highway before returning to the right lane.
They said Mr. Mather apparently saw the pickup in his lane and locked his brakes to stop his truck, which was lightly loaded with two pallets of Sunday supplement inserts going to the Frederick News Post.
Gasoline from the Nissan and some diesel fuel from the dual saddle tanks of the tractor spilled onto the highway. What did not burn was cleaned up by crews from the Maryland Department of the Environment and a commercial cleaner, A&A Environmental Services of Baltimore.
From the time of the crash, about 8:25 a.m., Route 27 was closed in both directions for more than seven hours, state police said. The northbound lane was reopened at 3:30 p.m. to accommodate rush-hour traffic, but was closed again later so authorities could continue their investigation and reconstruction of the crash.
The state environmental crew, working with the Winfield fire company, flushed a storm drain on the east side of the road after digging a hole in the dirt to act as a holding tank, where the fuel could collect to prevent it from running into the water supply of nearby homes.
The accident was the second fatal crash in the county this year.
Leslie Clough Jr., 81, of York, Pa., was killed March 20 when his automobile ran off Schalk Road No. 1 at Young Road, near Manchester, and struck a tree.