MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — An SUV and a snowplow collided on Columbia Pike Jan. 3, killing three people and critically injuring another.
A Cadillac SRX was northbound on Columbia Pike near Briggs Chaney Road when, for unknown reasons, it collided with the back of a northbound Peterbilt snow plow dump truck at about 6:45 p.m.
Three of the passengers in the SUV were trapped and had to be rescued by firefighters, according to the Montgomery County Police (MCP).
A man and two women were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Authorities identified the deceased as 27-year-old Shawde Ajee Nayonta Wicks of Clinton; 41-year-old Natasha Ann Hunter of Baltimore; and 52-year-old Gary Eugene Early of Baltimore.
The fourth victim, a man who has not been identified, was extracted from the vehicle’s rear and transported to a hospital in serious condition. The driver of the snowplow was not injured.
The accident occurred hours after a storm dropped about 6 inches of snow in the area. Authorities have not released any additional information about factors that may have contributed to the crash, but an MCP investigation is underway.
Commentary on the fatal snowplow accident in Maryland
When I take a case, I spend considerable time with the deceased’s surviving family as I help them navigate the post-accident process. This allows me to see first-hand the shock, pain, and anger experienced by those grappling with insufferable loss. This isn’t easy. However, as the story surrounding the accident unfolds, I am privileged to see the healing process take effect. This is an accident that has many questions needing answers.
What happened to cause such tragedy? Where was the snowplow? What was the visibility at the time of the accident? Was the snowplow equipped with lights or other features designed to alert drivers? Were these safety features activated at the time of the accident? Was the snowplow operating safely? Was the snowplow a private contractor or a government employee? Was the driver properly trained? How experienced was the operator? Answers to these questions will take time and require trained professionals with the resources available to unfold this story. Undoubtedly, the snowplow’s insurer has already begun an investigation designed to avoid liability.
I extend my deepest condolences to the friends and family left behind and hope the injured will experience a speedy recovery.
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