Maryland Correctional Officials Cancel Inmate Road Work Day After 1 Killed, 3 Others Struck by Vehicle

Tractor-trailer on I-70 struck van before hitting 4 members of inmate road crew

Maryland correctional officials have canceled scheduled work Wednesday for an inmate road crew, a day after a tractor-trailer struck four crew members, killing one.

Officials will explore whether more safety measures should be added. They will meet Wednesday with the Maryland State Highway Administration.

The tractor-trailer was traveling west on Interstate 70 near Route 17 in Myersville, in Frederick County, about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when it swerved onto the shoulder. It struck a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correction Services van before hitting the inmates, Maryland State Police said.

"A correctional officer was sitting inside the van, but fortunately he was uninjured. The tractor-trailer continued on the shoulder of the road and struck four inmates," Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said.

Milton Pajak, 34, died at the scene, police said.

Wade Rickets, Robert Knight and Aaron Abrecht were taken to a hospital.

Two other inmates who were part of the six-inmate crew were not injured and were secured in another corrections van.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, 53-year-old Frenel Pierre of Columbia, stayed at the scene. He did not report any injuries.

State police are investigating why he swerved onto the shoulder.

Hazmat crews went to the scene to handle a fuel spill from the tractor-trailer's damaged fuel tanks. Traffic was diverted to alternate routes, causing backups and delays.

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