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1 Dead Following Accident as Congressional Motorcade Passes

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Lanes are back open on I-70 westbound in Frederick after crews were cleaning up and investigating after a fiery fatal crash Wednesday morning.

Authorities say the wreck happened at about 9 a.m. on I-70, near the 270 northbound ramp, causing multiple vehicles to catch fire.

“The only picture I saw was the blackened skeleton of the car. It was devastating to look at,” said Jenna Kopanyi.

Maryland State Police say their preliminary investigation found that there was a chain reaction wreck involving an Nissan Rogue and three dump trucks that were traveling westbound on I-70.

The driver of the Rogue was pronounced dead on scene and has not been identified, while two of the dump truck drivers, Shawn Gill, 46, of Gaithersburg, and Mark Tew, 27, of Hanover, were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital. One of the drivers, Richard Aldar, 53, of Sykesville refused medical treatment at the scene.

“The person got into their car today, they thought they were going to work, go see their family members. It was sad,” said Vera Davis.

Police believe Aldar, the driver of one of the dump trucks, stopped in lane 3 on westbound I-70 due to a motorcade passing through the area. A second dump truck, being operated by Tew, subsequently stopped as did the driver of the Nissan Rogue. The third dump truck, operated by Gill, slammed into the rear of the Nissan, causing all four vehicles to collide into one another.

“People think that it’s because of the motorcade that this crash happened, this is still under investigation. We have our crash team reconstructionist talking to witnesses, putting together the pieces of this incident,” said Elena Russo of the Maryland State Police.

Eva Malecki of the U.S. Capitol Police says the motorcade was traveling from Washington to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Wednesday morning. She says no motorcade vehicles were involved in the accident near Frederick where interstates 70 and 270 meet.

A spokesman for Sen. Bernie Sanders, Josh Miller-Lewis, says Senate Democrats are holding a retreat in Shepherdstown, about 70 miles from Washington.

U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-Md.) released the following statement regarding the fatal crash:

“Our prayers and condolences go out to the families of the victims of the crash today. We are heartbroken that a traffic stop on a busy Maryland road ended in such a tragic way.”

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(TM and  Copyright 2017  CBS and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS and EYE Logo TM and  Copyright 2017  CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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