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Garrett hunter shot and killed in firearms accident Muzzleloader went off when vehicle overturned


A Garrett County deer hunter was shot and killed yesterday afternoon when the vehicle he was riding in overturned and his rifle accidentally fired.

John Surrick, manager of the state Natural Resources Police, said Clifford R. Bittinger, 37, of the 500 block of New Germany Road in Swanton, was riding with a friend in a four-wheel-drive vehicle about 2 p.m in the 6600 block of Glendale Road in Swanton.

When the vehicle struck a large rock and overturned, Surrick said, the man's 50-caliber muzzleloader fired, hitting him in the chest.

Bittinger was rushed to Cumberland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The operator of the vehicle, Terry S. Beckman, also of Swanton, suffered minor injuries.

Surrick said the shooting is under investigation.

Pub Date: 12/20/98

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