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One highway worker killed, two injured in Howard County work zone crash; Transportation Secretary implores drivers to slow down

A Jeep Wrangler driven by a Frederick man crashed into a worksite on Interstate 70 in Howard County early Thursday morning, killing one highway worker and injuring two others, Maryland State Police said.

Investigators believe highway workers were setting up around 12:30 a.m. to conduct a road work on the right shoulder of I-70 near the Route 29 ramp in Ellicott City when the Jeep driven by Frank William Hall Jr., 38, swerved and crashed into the rear of a work truck associated with the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration.

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Hall was taken to Howard County General Hospital for treatment.

Maryland State Police say a highway worker, Christopher Marsden, 34, of New Jersey, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. Investigators believe Marsden was standing outside of the work trucks on the scene at the time of the incident.

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The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is expected to conduct an autopsy, state police said.

Two New Jersey men also were injured in the crash. Rickey Foster Jr., 43, was sitting in a work truck involved in the crash and James Gonzalez, 44, was standing near the vehicle. Both men were taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where they are being treated for injuries, according to state police.

Four MDOT/SHA trucks and another vehicle parked on the right shoulder of I-70 near the southbound ramp of Route 29 were involved in the crash. All four trucks had amber warning lights and amber arrow boards illuminated to alert motorists of the upcoming road work operation, state police said.

The Maryland State Police Crash Team is investigating the crash. State police troopers are consulting Thursday with the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office regarding possible charges.

In a statement Thursday, Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater responded to the incident by imploring drivers to slow down when driving near a work site.

“With all we have going on in the world today with our health crisis and the economy, I am angered and deeply saddened by the fact that another transportation worker lost their life overnight,” Slater said. “Christopher Marsden was simply trying to do his job! Let’s be clear, too many injuries and fatalities in work zones are completely preventable.”

Slater asked people to look out for one another and asked drivers to think of Marsden while on the road Thursday.

“My heartfelt prayers are with him, his family, his co-workers and all transportation workers today,” he said.

The debris field caused by the crash was extensive and covered both lanes of eastbound I-70, causing the eastbound lanes of I-70 to be closed through the early morning hours.

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