US 15 Crash

Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Kevin Carter investigates a two-vehicle crash that killed the driver on the car in the foreground and injured the driver of the SUV seen to the rear.

A Frederick County woman was killed Thursday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash on southbound U.S. 15 just north of Frederick, according to Maryland State Police.

The crash, which was first reported to state police at 3:47 p.m., occurred on southbound U.S. 15 at Sundays Lane. Troopers arrived to find the wreckage of a Ford Expedition and a Mercury sedan in the southbound lanes of the highway.

The driver of the sedan, Kristy Denise Clark, 56, was pronounced dead at the scene, state police said. The man driving the SUV was taken to Frederick Health Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, said Trooper 1st Class Kevin Carter.

Carter said that no other passengers or patients were involved in the crash.

While the crash remained under investigation as of Thursday, the preliminary investigation indicated that the crash occurred as the sedan was attempting to turn onto Sundays Lane from U.S. 15, Carter said.

“So vehicle one, the blue car, was crossing southbound 15 onto Sundays Lane when vehicle two [the SUV], which was headed southbound on 15, struck it,” Carter said. “[The driver of the sedan] failed to yield the right of way.”

Both southbound lanes of U.S. 15 were closed for about an hour as a result of the crash to allow state police to take photographs and collect evidence. A single lane of U.S. 15 was reopened to traffic at about 4:30 p.m.

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime.

Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(60) comments

dancing donna

We send our condolences to the Clark family.

dancing donna

Drivers speed from Wegmans to Thurmont. There is rarely police presence on this road and people are impatient and do not care for other drivers. I do not feel safe on this stretch of road. It is nearly impossible to exit Rt. 15, meaning merge into the middle to cross opposing lanes to a local road. People drive too fast and I often miss the exit. If I do catch the exit, I have to slow down and this makes people mad. I clearly have on my blinker, but they must forget people live off of Rt. 15 and need to exit. I don't know when it happened exactly.....the loss of human kindness on the roads and care for our brothers and sisters. I wish it back. We all have value and we are all loved by someone.

mrnatural1

dancing donna,

I'm sure many people -- especially those that grew up here or moved here when they were young -- feel the same way.

I've lived here in Frederick County the majority of my life, and visited FredCo from the time I was about 5 years old. It's very sad to see what has happened to the area.

The same reduction in quality of life has happened countless times across the country, and continues to go on. As cities grow, people move further and further out. More and more farmland is taken out of production. Many of the people moving to the new developments bring their "big city" ways with them. They look at their new community as just a place to sleep (thus 'bedroom community'). They don't care about what happens locally. They are always in a hurry -- even more so now that they have a 1-2+ hour one-way commute.

They are often self-absorbed and have a "me first!" attitude, which leads to the behavior you describe -- ignoring other drivers' turn signals, tailgating, etc.

Further destruction could be prevented, but it would require a multi-pronged approach:

* No widening of I-270 and no mass transit options.

* A building moratorium.

* Incentivizing large employers to go somewhere else.

That would go a long way toward saving what's left of FredCo. I'm afraid we'd be stuck with our current problems though.

mrnatural1

Since this article is about a local traffic accident, Kelly mentioned the accident caused by the sudden closure of westbound I-70 a couple years ago. Gabriel replied to Kelly, which prompted my comment below. It was either deleted or never posted, so I thought I'd resubmit it:

As you said, all drivers should be ready to stop at all times. That would be a mitigating factor in defense of those who abruptly stopped traffic on I-70 (with no advance notice or warning for motorists).

At the same time though, if we're honest, we will admit that there are many, many times throughout our lives where -- if we had to stop for a stationary or slow-moving person/object/vehicle, we would probably not have been able to do so. We have 2-lane highways with no shoulders, blind hills and curves, posted at 50 mph! A driver could be 100% law-abiding, driving at/below the limit, but if they pop over a hill or around a curve doing 45-50 mph, and there's a kid on a bike or a farmer operating some ag equipment obstructing the lane, and another vehicle coming the other way at 50 mph -- it's all but guaranteed there will be an accident, perhaps fatal.

Under those circumstances, it's possible no one would even be charged -- even though we are supposed to be able to stop safely at all times. After all, no one was breaking any traffic laws.

Granted, that scenario is different than what happened on I-70, but the same idea applies. For example, although technically, people are supposed to keep 2 seconds (or more) from the vehicle in front of them, how many people actually do that? Of course it's impossible to during rush hour, but even at other times, when they could (at least theoretically) do so, many/most drivers do not. Rightly or not, most drivers assume that -- especially on an Interstate -- there will be signs warning of construction, lane closures, etc, well in advance. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that if an Interstate was closed for any reason -- other than a bunch of US senators riding on a couple buses -- with absolutely no warning, no signs, whatsoever, and there was a fatal accident(s) as a result, heads would roll. Those responsible would do time. At the very least the DOT, construction company, etc, would have the pants sued off them.

The bottom line is -- that death could have easily been avoided. Some things just happen -- maybe a car breaks down in a travel lane before the driver can move to the shoulder. Mayhem ensues -- but the cause was unanticipated and likely unavoidable. The actions by those escorting the senators were *intentional*, premeditated. There's "the book"/the law -- and there's the way things are. In this case, those that stopped traffic on I-70 can point to "the book" (drivers should always be prepared to stop), but it's vitally important to consider the way things are in reality. If drivers were always hyper-vigilant and ready to stop on a dime, then we wouldn't need any signs advising of lane closures, lane shifts, etc. We know however that even if a driver is not distracted, is giving the road ahead their full attention, is not exceeding the limit, etc, more accidents will happen without signage. That's not to mention the many drivers who *are* distracted.

In this case, there was no reason for drivers to think that traffic would be stopped, and, as I recall, the sun was in drivers' eyes. It can be difficult -- especially under those conditions -- to see if the lights ahead are brake lights or tail lights.

I'd say there is enough blame to go around, but the majority belongs to those who summarily shut down I-70 without warning for no good reason (there's an exit for 340 just up the highway a mile or two).

KellyAlzan

Nailed it on the 70 incident. When I post, my time is limited, so I don’t have the time to sit down and spell everything out like you did :)

Interstates are intended for high speed. That’s why no bicycles,

Mopeds, and farm

Machinery are supposed to be on interstates.

When I’m driving a large vehicle (Winnebago, commercial work truck), I’m doing many things at once - watching activity behind me in the mirrors, watching the vehicles beside me, watching the vehicles immediately in front of me, and trying to see what’s happening way up ahead, as well as maintaining a safe distance in front of me. It’s a lot going on. In my large heavy vehicles I usually have no less than 3 car lengths in front of me.

The last thing a driver is expecting is a sudden STOP. A sudden slow down on an interstate is one thing. But, a sudden stop on an interstate is bad news. The dump truck was loaded, that’s 60,000 to 70,000 pounds. To stop with no warning.

Totally foolish of the secret service. And I’m angry with the secret service. Of all the unpleasant things in the area that have taken place - this incident probably makes me the most angry.

Like Natural said, a car broken down is one thing. Unintentional. But the secret service stopping traffic with no signage, or any precautionary measures - that was as intentional as it gets. A man lost his life. Totally avoidable.

And to follow up on Dunn’s

Deleted comment - THAT WAS NOT driver error. THAT WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT ERROR

mrnatural1

Anyone know why so many comments were deleted?

I read them all and don't recall any that were in violation of FNP guidelines

I subscribed ("watch this thread") but not until recently. The comments I've received via email have all been fine.

What did I miss?

KellyAlzan

I ageee.

This is how it works here, Mr Natural. This is exactly how it works:

- I write something, no different than what anyone else writes. I have a very unique way with word and getting the point across.

- one or more of my trolls, then come behind me and twist and spin my posts. And like one person did today - claim my post to be insensitive, etc.

- then, they report it.

One person, has been trolling me hot and heavy for the last few weeks. This is, after he, a few weeks ago, was preaching to me about online etiquette. As to which, when I read his sermon, I was like “pot meet kettle”, and ever since he has escalated his trolling me. Making him a.....hypocrite.

Some people are really sharp. Some people think they’re sharp, but they’re not. And if you’re at different levels of intelligence - posts are misinterpreted. Tic for tack, and it’s grown adults. So sad.

I stand behind my every word. There are multiple accidents and fatalities on this area of route 15. It’s gerring worse every year. The county is approving development that feeds onto Route 15. Something needs to be done.

The county has the time and energy to deal with, of all things, BALLOONS. And senator young has time to deal with a downtown hotel and his other fluffy ideas......but they can’t sit down and talk about solutions for 15. The county created this problem.

No ones posts to this story violated the terms of use. I know the terms of use like the back of my hand. I have read them over and over. I probably know them better than the head editor.

If the FNO doesn’t want to be bothered with moderating - then DISABLE the comments. Disable the comments.

Also, I ask that the FNP staff pause and review the terms of use. If they can’t moderate in accordance with the terms of use - then it may be time to reword the terms to coincide with their moderating culture.

And if anyone has a problem with my writing style - then bombard the FNP and demand they cancel my subscription.

HappySeller2014

May God bless, comfort and help heal all those personally affected by this tragedy.

But, a dead balloon carcass has never killed a human being to my knowledge. Yet, five to ten times a year I hear of or read in the FNP about this stretch of Route 15 just north of Frederick City having another wreck that seriously injures, mains or kills folks.

How about some public safety highway county legislation? This stretch of Route 15 is in the county. Stoplights? Speed bumps? Pavement dredging? Forced merging into deceleration lanes? God forbid, a toll both that does not collect tolls, but hands out speed safety phamplets?

The common public good would be for the county council to focus of legislating around issues like these...repetitive, dangerous, and correctable (enforceable). Not more resolutions and balloon legislation!

HappySeller2014

And please, no one tell me this is the State of Maryland's problem. That is a cop out, but I am trying to cut off the naysayers at the pass. The county could do A LOT to make this stretch of road much safer.

HappySeller2014

You folks need to head over to the single use plastic bag story that was released earlier today by the FNP to get that comment board fired up! It has now been publically announced that the workgroup established back in the summertime was put on hold.

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KellyAlzan

Gabbs has been, for the last few weeks, trolling my posts. My every post!

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Marwin3105

Hilarious. Go to reddit for the jokes. This is a reporting of tragedy and an inappropriate forum for tasteless jokes - especially about KellyAlzan's pet-issue-dead-horse-beating-balloon-obsession.

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HappySeller2014

Nice humor Gabby carried over from earlier conversations this week. And, in all seriousness, I pray for the families of those affected and wish them peace and healing.

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HappySeller2014

You tooo funny Kelly! I love it. Nice tongue-in-cheek!

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pechorin

50% of drivers are by definition below-average, and the average in the US isn't very high. Pass a test once in your life and you're pretty much good to go. And even if you know you aren't the best driver, your transportation options are limited...so you drive. To that basic situation we add a smooth highway with multiple lanes, broad shoulders, gentle curves, and few encroachments...basically an interstate-level road (with one important exception), so that the road itself encourages drivers to let down their guard. We also set the speed limit at 55, which at face value seems silly for such a road. That means that almost everyone blatantly ignores it. Then we add thousands more drivers every year. We give them more distractions (phones), ever faster and more powerful cars, ever longer commutes, and ever more time pressure. And then, to top it off, we throw in multiple surface-level crossings. It's a scenario that's basically designed to kill people.

You're right about poor driving. But the fact that "poor walking" killed everyone who's ever fallen down steps and broken their necks hasn't kept us from installing handrails and non-slip surfaces.

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KellyAlzan

The incident when the US Secret Service stopped west bound traffic on INTERSTATE 70, for a congressional motorcade, and a loaded dump truck slammed into the back of another vehicle comes to mind. Not all accidents derive from driver error.

Human error on the secret service’s part. You can’t just stop 65 mile and hour traffic without any warning devices set up. Especially in that area where the road curves and sight distance is limited. Poor decision of the secret service

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sevenstones1000

Traps don’t cause deaths, poor decision making about going into them does.

The road design around Frederick has more than one death trap.

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KellyAlzan

And I agree to an extent. Roads do not cause collisions.

But, POOR ENGINEERING does cause collisions. And so do unmaintained roads.

Examples:

Getting into I-70 east from 15 south in the morning. And getting in the right lane to get onto Rt 85. Speed limit is 65. You must cross 4 lanes of traffic in a very short distance, to be in the far right lane to get onto 85. You’re watching in front of you Incase anyone hits their brakes at the same time as you’re checking your right side mirror to change 3 lanes. In the dark, making it harder. Horrible engineering. Those that drive this area in the weekday mornings (6am to 9am) know exactly what I’m talking about. Those that do not - have no idea what I’m talking about.

Roads unkept - there are major highways and interstates with big and with deep holes in the pavements. These cause accidents. They damage vehicles. And the damaged vehicles cause accidents,’damaged because of bad roads.

collinsm65

Too many accidents here not to redesign that stretch of highway. At the volume there is, any other state would have done something years ago. Should be just like the stretch going past Gettysburg by now.

rbtdt5

I don't drive 15 very often, but I'm surprised to hear that everyone speeds on that road. I talk to a lot of people that are always complaining about traffic and how 15 is parking lot.

DickD

Parking lot during rush hours. Otherwise it's a speedway.

shiftless88

When you get into Frederick it is a parking lot. North of Frederick it is a speedway.

Frayou

Growing up, traveling Rt 15 for 45 years in Maryland and Pennsylvania, I never clearly understood why Maryland did not budget for bridges being built over these rural roads north of Frederick compared to traveling over the Pennsylvania border, bridges were built. I suspected the Gettysburg National Battlefield was a factor, but these decisions would have been made at a time when traffic levels were minimal. It is apparent these incidents have and will increase to include similar tragedies. Unfortunately, it will take more traffic deaths until the state will take building more bridges to happen as we witnessed with Hayward Rd leading to the new Christopher’s Crossing bridge. Unfortunate.

KellyAlzan

Our senators and govt leaders are too busy budgeting for downtown hotels.

Brookhawk

I drive US 15 both directions all the time, and I do the speed limit unless traffic is such that I'm going to get run over if I don't do at least 65, which is practically all the time. Even at 60 I get passed by everybody. Even in the 25 mph zone along Monocacy Blvd where pedestrians are common and sidewalks maybe 2 feet away from the road, 50 mph is common. It's amazing what little regard people have for the law and for the safety concerns that prompt the speed limits. Obeying the law is not remotely in vogue anywhere these days.

DickD

Even at 65 I get passed.

KellyAlzan

Yes. I was on 15 coming from Thurmont to Frederick a few weeks ago. I was doing 60. People were passing me like I was a big thorn in their side.

Frayou

Agree. Driving the posted speeds should be obeyed. Especially where schools & pedestrians are involved. But, when traveling interstate highways doing so can be hazardous. It is best to travel speeds indicative of regular traffic behaviors patterns. (Not reckless or abusing which is commonly witnessed, unfortunately). I fear for my wife when driving as she is compulsive about obeying posted speeds, such as 55 while others are wizzing by her traveling 65 or greater, unfortunately.

mrnatural1

You're absolutely correct Frayou.

Speed variance is more of a hazard than absolute speed.

Those who want to minimize the chance of being involved in an accident are best off going with the flow of traffic. There have been several studies that confirm this.

Obsessively driving the speed limit, when the average speed of traffic is higher -- or running well above the average speed -- is more dangerous because there is more passing and lane changing involved.

KellyAlzan

Multiple accidents on this stretch on a weekly basis. This needs addressing. I realize 15 is a state highway. But, the county has a role in this as well.

Apparently balloons is a bigger priority for the county council. So sad.

shiftless88

Really? What did that balloon resolution cost taxpayers versus the cost of all above-grade crossings for 15?

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shiftless88

I know your post has nothing to do with money, but the solution has everything to do with money. That was my point. We all get older, even you.

KellyAlzan

And this is exactly what I mean when (with the attempting to one-up). Implementing road solutions are never free. We’re adults. We know this.

Government priorities are something that has taken spotlight lately. Voter expectations are becoming more focused on nuts and bolts.

shiftless88

Yes, Kelly, but the county is not going to pay for what is needed. Ever.

KellyAlzan

I’ve been to every meeting this year and in 2019 (as far as I know)

gabrielshorn2013

And??? You failed to answer the first question. Should nothing else be done until the revenue restricted projects are done?

KellyAlzan

Gabbs - never do I fail to

Answer questions. Perhaps the question isn’t relevant to my comment / opinion / knowledge.

Brookhawk

I keep thinking those machines that automatically mail you a ticket for speeding would be a great idea. Make more money for the county and the city, if nothing else.

TJ312

“So vehicle one, the blue car, was crossing southbound 15 onto Sundays Lane when vehicle two [the SUV], which was headed southbound on 15, struck it,” Carter said. “[The driver of the Mercury] failed to yield the right of way.” -

no...... south bound, - and north bound - traffic on 15 travels at a speed of 80-90 miles an hour - even the police in all weather, rain and snow included. 9 chances out of 10, this woman didn't even see the SUV that hit her because the SUV was too far away and just came out of the blue.

I've been videoing the traffic on 15 these past few weeks, and 90 percent of the drivers including police are speeding well above 65 miles an hour. It's dangerous to travel at the 55 mile an hour speed limit. In fact, I passed this accident scene around 5:20 today, driving 55 once the lanes opened up, and I was passed by so many vehicles.... and, nearly T-boned by a car trying to cross 15 because I was actually doing the speed limit and the car was expecting me to be travelling just as fast as everyone else!

francesca_easa

Thank you TJ for your insight. No amount of policing can prevent people's reckless driving.

Thewheelone

I agree francesca, but speed cameras at a few locations that are particularly bad and random speed traps would help to some degree.

DickD

[thumbup][thumbup]

DickD

No. But they could slow traffic.

shiftless88

I am sure she did not see the SUV but the weather yesterday was clear and the sight lines at that intersection allow one to cross without a problem IF you look. It only takes perhaps five seconds to cross two lanes of traffic even if you are slow and a car going 75 mph travels about 180 yards, one going 55 travels 135 yards. That difference is not one between "I can see it" and "I cannot see it".

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed shiftless. I pass that intersection daily, and there is a good long view of oncoming traffic.

KellyAlzan

So many variables. Sun glare. Fog. Window pillar or mirror blocking driver’s sight. Positioned Angle of the vehicle at the intersection.

KellyAlzan

^but not limited to

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