It was along Route 15 in Thurmont, a busy highway, shared by commercial trucks and commuters alike, that U.S. Marine Cpl. William Ferrell pulled over on a wet and dark Tuesday night to help a disabled motorist.
Trooper First Class Daniel Rishell of the Maryland State Police described the final moments of his life.
"He was outside his vehicle at the time. Another vehicle, a suspect vehicle that were identifying as a possible pickup truck with a dual axle in the rear that was carrying a car carrier went off the roadway, struck Cpl. Ferrell's vehicle as well as Cpl. Ferrell and then left the scene," Rishell said.
Witnesses say the truck stopped briefly about a hundred feet north of the crash scene and then drove away.
"The preliminary investigation revealed that there's probably going to be some damage to the front and passenger side of the pickup truck that the suspect was driving as well as some possible damage to the trailer,” Rishell said. “The vehicle continued on, and as far as right now, that's all that we have."
Ferrell of Carthage, North Carolina was just 21 years old, but had risen quickly through the ranks to make corporal last year and was assigned to Camp David or what's now referred to as the Naval Support Facility in Thurmont.
"The command is heartbroken by the loss of one of our own, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Cpl. William Ferrell," Col. Benjamin Watson, the commanding officer of the Marine barracks in Washington, D.C, said. "During this difficult time, please know that William was a selfless Marine, and his actions reflected his strong and noble character, one that epitomizes a United States Marine."
The hit-and-run happened just before 11 p.m. Tuesday during a heavy rain along the shoulder of northbound Route 15.
State police say if you have any information that could help them, you can simply dial 911.