On a stormy December Sunday evening in 1963, Maryland State Trooper Don Hash, a 23 or 24 year-old rookie one year out of the academy, was cruising northbound on Route 213 near Brantwood Golf Course. As an unusual late fall thunderstorm rolled across Cecil County, heavy rain pelted the patrol car when a powerful bolt of lightning in the shape of a wishbone suddenly came out of low hanging clouds, illuminating the area. One or two seconds after that a large airplane enshrouded in an orange glow flew out of the cloud. The doomed craft continued in flight for 10 to 15 seconds before a wing fell off and the plane nosed straight down into the ground. Trooper Hash radioed to alert the barrack as he raced toward the crash site, somewhere east of Elkton near the state line.
Don, who would retire from the Maryland State Police as a Lieutenant, talked to us on June 9, 2011, about his experience that troubling, unforgettable dark night in a Maryland cornfield. He was the first emergency responder to arrive on the scene. “I could see flames on Delancy Road,” he recalled as he neared the crash site. “It wasn’t a large fire. It was several smaller fires. A fuselage with about 8 or 10 window frames was about the only large recognizable piece I could see when I pulled up. It was just a debris field. It didn’t resemble an airplane. The engines were buried in the ground 10 to 15-feet from the force of the impact.”
By this time everyone was mobilizing. The state police called for troopers from other barracks to help the three troopers covering the county that evening. In a few minutes the fire company arrived and during the next hour officers from throughout the state started arriving on the scene to help. Trooper Hash stayed on the crash scene throughout that long stormy night until he was relieved the next morning.
Click here to hear part of the interview with Lt. Hash (retired).