One man was killed and another seriously injured in what police say was a suicide attempt when a car sped into a stopped freight train on the grounds of Lehigh Portland Cement Co. in Union Bridge yesterday afternoon.
State police said they found a suicide note in the Pontiac T-1000 that crashed into the train at high speed about 4:40 p.m.
The driver of the car, Edward E. Stultz, 36, was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger, John M. Curran, 32, was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was in serious condition last night.
Police said both lived in Union Bridge, but were unable to supply a more exact address last night. Motor Vehicle Administration records indicate Mr. Stultz lived in the 100 block of East Broadway and Mr. Curran in the first block of S. Main St.
Cinda Gump, who says she worked with Mr. Curran at Wilks Precision Instrument Co. near Union Bridge, watched the event unfold.
"I was getting out of my auto in front of my house on Farquhar Street and saw this car speeding up the street," Mrs. Gump said. "By the time I turned around, the car had traveled over half a block, went through the gate and hit the train."
Police said the vehicle traveled south on Farquhar Street across Locust Street, between two concrete Jersey barriers placed parallel to the tracks at the entrance to the Lehigh plant. The car became airborne before striking the locomotive.
"I ran to my house and told my husband and he ran to the crash," Mrs. Gump said. "I grabbed my cordless phone, dialed 911, and ran outside and up the street as far as I could. When the phone started to lose contact, I stopped and relayed to 911 that there were two men in the car.
"I saw the train crew jump down and start to break the windows of the car to get in to the men to help."
Rescue crews from Union Bridge Volunteer Fire Department were able to extricate the passenger and take him to a state police MedEvac helicopter that landed at Lehigh. The driver was not taken out of the vehicle until an associate medical examiner arrived to pronounce him dead.
State police did not release the contents of the suicide note.
The engine of the locomotives were running, but the train was stopped, police said.
There were two "Do Not Enter" signs on the cement barriers at the 12-foot wide opening and the car traveled about 120 feet on Lehigh property before striking the train.
Mr. Curran's parents were being comforted at their home last night by a clergyman.
"We're just shocked," said William Curran, the man's father. "He took care of his mother all the time, giving her insulin and her other medicine."
He said his son and Mr. Stultz were friends.
"I loved the boy," Mr. Curran said. "I loved both of them."
Residents of the neighborhood, many of whom said they knew both men, stood shaking their heads in disbelief as the emergency crews extricated the victim from the auto.
Several muttered, one to another, "Why?"