An on-duty Maryland state trooper was killed in a car accident overnight.
The accident occurred on I-95 at the Laurel rest area, south of Rt. 32. The victim has been identified as Trooper First Class Shaft S. Hunter, 39.
“TFC Hunter was an outstanding trooper who was known for his dedication to duty,” said Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Terrence B. Sheridan. “He died while working to keep our highways safe. He will be greatly missed by his family and his fellow troopers at the Waterloo Barrack and throughout the Maryland State Police."
At around 2:40 a.m. Saturday, Hunter's vehicle collided with a tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the interstate, just before the entrance ramp to the rest area. The driver of the tractor trailer told investigators that he had pulled over briefly to check for directions.
Hunter was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash investigation is ongoing. A witness told investigators he was passed by a speeding motorcycle that was being following be a marked State Police car.
Although Hunter had not radioed in about this, police said that's not unusual in the initial moments of an attempted traffic stop.
Governor Martin O'Malley issued the following statement:
"I'm saddened by the news of Trooper Hunter's tragic death. This tragedy, particularly as it occurred on duty as Trooper Hunter worked to keep our highways safe, reminds us of the dangers associated with law enforcement and the risks they take on a daily basis to keep our state safe. My thoughts and prayers, and those of all Marylanders, are with the Hunter family on this difficult day."
Hunter was an 11-year veteran of the Maryland State Police, and had served in the United States Marine Corps from 1994 to 2000. He leaves behind six children, ranging from ages four to 19.
Published at 8:23 AM EDT on May 21, 2011 | Updated at 8:44 PM EDT on May 21, 2011