Pickup driver sought in probe of fatal crash

Two vehicles reportedly dueled on highway

one careened into utility pole

June 27, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Police continued searching yesterday for a purple pickup truck and its driver in connection with a fatal crash that investigators say may have resulted from a driving duel along Route 3 in Gambrills on Friday afternoon.

Investigators said witnesses saw brake-slamming and lane-changing around 4 p.m. Friday near Church View Road, ending when Patrick Francis Smith tried to pull in front of the pickup truck and lost control of his black 1998 Honda Civic.

The car spun around, jumped a curb and hit a utility pole, killing Smith, 22, of the 300 block of Wembly Way in Severna Park. The driver of the pickup truck sped from the scene, south on Route 3 toward Crofton, police said.

Officer Carol Frye, a spokeswoman for the county police, said the incident apparently began when Smith drove onto southbound Route 3 somewhere north of Route 175 and steered his Civic in front of a purple pickup truck with tinted windows. Witnesses told police that the drivers began to cut in front of each other at high speeds, weaving through heavy traffic.

Several drivers, concerned for their own safety, slowed down and let the two drivers get well ahead of them, police Sgt. Jim Fredericks said yesterday. The apparent duel continued for about a half-mile before Smith's vehicle spun off the road in front of a minimall.

Police want to talk to the driver of the pickup, Fredericks said. But witnesses did not recall the vehicle's tag numbers, and police had no description of the driver because of the tinted windows.

Frye described the truck as a bright purple "low-rider" with clear plastic covers over its brake lights instead of red.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 410- 222-8577.

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