A Montgomery County man died during the fierce storm Tuesday night after he struck a recently fallen tree with his pickup truck.
Elmer Henry Froelich, Jr., 79, was traveling east on Darnestown Road near Cattail Road around 8:30 p.m. when he hit a fallen tree with his 2003 Chevrolet S-10. He was pronounced dead on the scene. He was the only occupant of the truck.
Froelich's family was shocked by the death of the beloved Marine and carpenter who had just celebrated his 79th birthday.
"He was a great man," son-in-law Tom Kirkpatrick said Wednesday in front of the home Froelich built himself more than 30 years ago and shared with his wife. "He'd give the shirt off his own back to help anybody."
The tree that sparked the crash came down in severe storms that swept through the area Tuesday night. Strong winds, heavy rain, hail and lightning kept emergency responders busy. A tree fell on top of a Fairfax home, a Greenbelt apartment building caught fire after being struck by lightning and tens of thousands of people lost power.
Detectives are still investigating the crash. Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to call the Montgomery County Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620. Callers may remain anonymous.