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(UPDATE 5/21, 11:55 a.m.) Maryland State Trooper Killed in Truck Collision

Police have identified the trooper.

A Maryland state trooper who died in a crash with a stopped tractor trailer on I-95 in North Laurel early Saturday may have been pursuing a motorcycle driving south on the interstate, an initial investigation has concluded.

Police identified the officer as Trooper First Class Shaft Hunter, 39, a father of six who had been on the force 11 years.

An initial investigation indicated that Hunter was in pursuit of a motorcycle driving south on I-95 when the officer's vehicle collided into the rear of a tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the interstate.

The department said this sequence of events is "possible" but that, as of now, it is based on witness information. A witness told police that a motorcycle passed his vehicle "at a high rate of speed" and it was followed by a marked police car, which, moments later, crashed into the tractor trailer.

State Police said the accident occurred about 2:40 a.m. near the Laurel rest area. The driver of the truck told investigators he had pulled to the side of the interstate to check on directions to his destination, police said.

“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," said Gov. Martin O'Malley, in a press release. "My thoughts and prayers, and those of all Marylanders, are with the Hunter family on this difficult day.”

Hunter served in the Marine Corps from 1994 to 2000.

"He died while working to keep our highways safe," said MSP Superintendent Colonel Terrence Sheridan. "He is the 43rd state trooper to make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the people of Maryland."

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A Maryland state trooper died early today in a crash on southbound I-95 in Howard County, police say.

The crash occurred about 2:40 a.m.on southbound I-95, south of Route 32, near the entrance ramp to a rest area.

The trooper, who was on duty, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a press release.

The trooper's name was not released pending the notification of family.

Due to the crash investigation, southbound lanes of I-95 have been closed at Route 32.

More details on the crash are expected to be released later Saturday.

Ryan May 21, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Terrible. May his family find peace at this terrible time.
Laurel driver May 21, 2011 at 06:02 PM
This is so tragic. Maybe now an effort will be made to stop the motorcyclists who are turning I-95 into a 100 mph speedway. Sometimes its just one; more often on the weekend it's whole groups of 10-15 racing bikers tearing up and down the highway and weaving from lane to lane. They all have the souped up racing bikes and wear matching leathers. A few years ago I remember the crash when one of a group died (they literally picked him up in pieces afterwards) and the rest of his group never stopped.
Dudeindacorner May 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM
These "Rice Rocket" riders have no fear, the blast up and down the BW Parkway at double the speed of normal traffic. Even though the parkway is 2 lanes? These knuckleheads make their own lane right up the middle. You cant report them to the police. If you try? they are long gone before you can dial and they bend the license plates up so you cant read it anyway. I have nothing against motorcycles or the riders as I ride myself, but these guy's are giving motorcycles a bad rep..Also? I bow my head in utter respect for that fallen Trooper who tried to at least stop one of them "lawless" bastards... My heart goes out to the Troopers family.....
Ron Humphries May 24, 2011 at 12:58 PM
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. My grand daughter is friends with his daughter. So I feel even more compassionate.

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