Inmate dead after tractor-trailer strikes him on I-70; 3 others on work crew hurt

WASHINGTON — A Maryland Correctional Training Center inmate died after he was struck by a tractor-trailer during a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 near Myersville, Maryland, Tuesday.

Three other inmates, who were part of the six-man crew, were injured. The other two were not.

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Maryland State Police identified the inmate who died as Milton Pajak, 34. The injured victims are identified as Wade Rickets, 24, Robert Knight and Aaron Abrecht. Police did not have the ages of Knight and Abrecht.

The crew from the Hagerstown prison was working along the shoulder of the interstate when a red Freightliner tractor-trailer traveling westbound on I-70 swerved onto the right shoulder and collided with a trailer connected to a Chevrolet Express van, owned and operated by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correction Services. The crash occurred around 9:30 a.m., shutting down the highway for hours.

The man who died and another were struck by the tractor-trailer. Two others were injured by debris from the collision. A corrections officer inside the van wasn’t hurt, police said in a news release.

The injured men were taken to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown. One had serious injuries. The others had less serious injuries.

Compounding the fatal I-70 incident, a dump truck jackknifed into the median while trying to avoid the first crash.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Frenel Pierre, 53, of Columbia, Maryland, was not hurt.

Police are continuing to investigate.

A map of the area where the crash happened is below.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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