Highway worker killed as driver smashes into trucks setting up I-70 work zone

A highway construction worker was killed and two of his colleagues were injured when the driver of a Jeep crashed where they were working on eastbound Interstate 70 near U.S. Route 29 in Ellicott City, Maryland, at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Christopher Marsden, 34, of New Jersey, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical service personnel, according to a Maryland State Police news release. He was a contractor working for the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Police said investigators believe Marsden was standing outside of the work trucks on the scene at the time of the crash.

Highway workers Rickey Foster Jr., 43, and James Gonzalez, 44, both of New Jersey, were transported to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where the pair were being treated for injuries sustained in the crash.

Another highway worker, Wayne Carter, 60, of New Jersey, was uninjured in the incident, according to police.

Police identified Frank William Hall Jr., 38 of Frederick, as the “suspected at-fault driver.”

Hall, who was driving a 2012 red Jeep Wrangler, was taken to Howard County General Hospital, police said.

Investigators believe the driver of the Jeep Wrangler, identified as Hall, was traveling eastbound on I-70 before Exit 87A to Route 29 when he swerved and crashed into the rear of a white Autocar work truck, tied to the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, which subsequently killed Marsden and injured Foster and Gonzalez.

The work truck was among four Maryland Department of Transportation/State Highway Administration trucks and one vehicle parked on the right shoulder of I-70 when the crash happened, sending debris across both sides of I-70 and forcing a nearly seven-hour overnight closure of the eastbound lanes.

The work truck had its amber warning lights on. Police said amber arrow boards were lit up to alert drivers of the upcoming road work operation

An investigation will determine whether alcohol, speed and/or distraction were contributing factors to the deadly crash, police said.

Both eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 near the crash scene were open to traffic again by 7:15 a.m., according to the WTOP Traffic Center.

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

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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