Funeral arrangements for the state trooper killed in an accident on Interstate 95 over the weekend were released Monday, but details about the crash remain sketchy, according to a state police spokesman.
Trooper First Class Shaft S. Hunter died Saturday when his cruiser slammed into a tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder near the entrance ramp to Route 32 in Howard County. According to a witness, a motorcycle with a white-helmeted driver raced by, followed by Hunter's cruiser, shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday. Investigators are still trying to determine whether Hunter, who was the 43rd state trooper killed in the line of duty since 1921, was chasing the motorcyclist.
"We don't have a whole lot right now," Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, said Monday. "There were not a lot of vehicles on the road at that hour."
But Shipley said that chasing down high-speed racing motorcycles has become a challenge for local and state police agencies.
"Those racing motorcycles can go up to 160 miles per hour," Shipley said. "Our police cars are not equipped to do that."
The funeral for Hunter, a 39-year-old divorced father of six and a state trooper for the past 11 years, will be at 11 a.m. Friday, at the New Antioch Baptist Church of Randallstown, with burial at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. A viewing will be held Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Vaughn C. Greene Funderal Home in Randallstown.
Sherman Hunter Jr., an older brother of the officer, declined to comment Monday when reached at the family's home in Charles County.
"It's too early," he said.
Col. Terrence B. Sheridan, the head of the state police, said that Hunter had not radioed in to report his pursuit, but added that that was not unusual in the early stages of such a police chase.
According to Cpl. Victoria Harrison, duty officer at state police headquarters, Gov. Martin O'Malley ordered Monday that state flags be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Hunter's funeral.