Family members and police officers are seeking justice after a Marine was hit and killed while helping the driver of a disabled vehicle just a few miles away from Camp David.
Corporal Kyle Ferrell died on U.S. Highway Route 15 just south of Thurmont, Maryland on September 29, 2015.
“He told me he had some close calls. I said, ‘Kyle, please be careful,’” Ferrell’s friend Mike Crumpler said. “It didn’t slow him down a bit though. He wanted to keep helping people.”
Ever since he was a child his mom, Donna Ferrell, said her son always had a fondness for helping people in need.
“[He’d] see somebody on the side of the road, and Kyle would say, ‘momma we need to stop and help them,’” Donna said. “[He] always wanted to stop and help somebody.”
It was that desire to help that led Ferrell to the side of Route 15 on a dark and stormy September night to help a disabled motorist.
Ferrell was returning to Camp David after having dinner with a fellow Marine when he spotted the car.
Michael Crone was driving on Route 15 when he pulled over to the shoulder to call a tow truck after his car began malfunctioning and losing power.
After spotting the car, Ferrell pulled over behind Crone and activated the specialty hazard lights installed on his Nissan Titan pickup truck.
“The weather was horrendous. It was really bad. We couldn't see much in front of us,” said Molly Carren who was driving on Route 15 as well that night.
“It was raining really hard. It was very hard to see the road,” added Andrea Webb, who was in the car with Carren.
Ferrell went back to his truck to get a raincoat and that’s when Crone heard a sound he has never forgotten.
“So I see this thing go by and at the same time there’s a noise. Almost a ‘whoomph’,” Crone said. “And right after that happened I could see Corporal Ferrell right there out my window in the traffic lane.”
Just moments after the crash, Andrea Webb encountered the scene.
“His door was completely torn off. The driver’s side door,” said Webb.
Carren arrived at the scene moments after the accident.
“We could see a body in the road,” said Carren. “We checked for a pulse but it was clear that Kyle had died.”
“The only reason he was there was to help somebody else. And he ended up getting hit and killed. And the person who did it drove off,” said Sgt Michael Taluskie of the Maryland State Police.
Sgt. Taluskie is an accident reconstruction specialist and arrived on the scene shortly after Ferrell’s accident. He opened the case file to WUSA9, discussed the accident report and offered investigative details about photos taken at the scene.
“[Ferrell] had his door open?” asked WUSA9 anchor Adam Longo.
“Yes he did,” responded Taluskie.
“And is it fair to say he [Ferrell] just never saw it coming?” asked Longo.
“At the time, he was reaching for his jacket and as he was coming out he was struck and probably never saw it coming,” replied Taluskie.
According to Crone, others interviewed for this story and the accident report, it is likely that Ferrell was struck by a heavy-duty car-hauling trailer being pulled by a “dually” style truck. Maryland State Police believe it was a “gooseneck” style flatbed trailer hauling possibly one or two vehicles.
Sgt. Taluskie believes only the trailer hit Ferrell and his vehicle because there was no paint transfer to Ferrell’s vehicle.
“So the trailer wouldn't have been damaged that much. So there’s really nothing to fix. Nothing to turn into an insurance company,” said Sgt Taluskie.
Immediately after the accident, the vehicle that hit Ferrell pulled over to the side of Route 15 about 500 feet away.
Witnesses who arrived right after the accident noticed the vehicle up the road, but paid little attention to it. The vehicle remained for a few minutes, but then pulled away from the scene and vanished into the darkness.
However, there was evidence recovered at the scene.
“Yeah, probably a three-and-a-half-foot piece of metal. So a substantial piece of the vehicle was embedded in theirs,” said Sgt Taluskie.
The driver of the vehicle that hit Ferrell pulled over to the side of the road, noticed a piece of Kyle’s vehicle attached to their trailer. The driver removed that piece of metal, tossed it into the grassy shoulder and then got back in their vehicle and drove away.
“How could you drive away and leave my baby laying there?” asked Donna. “How could you not at least tell us you’re sorry? Ask for our forgiveness you know?”
“Come to even and give his family and friends the peace of mind as far as who did this,” said Ferrell’s friend Brian Kreitz.
“Nothing's going to bring him back. But to bring closure to the friends and the family would mean more than anything,” said Crumpler. “Every time I see a vehicle on the side of the road I hear his voice. Telling me to make sure they're ok.”
WUSA9 traveled to Carthage, North Carolina to speak with Ferrell’s family and friends. It was clear Ferrell was destined for a career where helping his fellow man was the top priority. He joined the local fire department in Carthage as a junior firefighter at 16 years old.
Less than one percent of the men and women in the Marine Corps are selected for Presidential Guard duty. Corporal Kyle Ferrell was among them; the best of the best. Served there for close to a year.
When he took leave time from Camp David, Ferrell wasn’t home partying and carrying on like a typical 21-year-old. He was doing ride-alongs with the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, where he wanted to work when he got out of the Marines.
“We would go on calls together and after we cleared the call we would talk about it,” said Moore County Lieutenant Tim Davis.” He was at an early age wanting to know everything he could know before he got on the road.”
“He's always told me when we were growing up he wanted to be in law enforcement,” said high school friend and Moore County Deputy Cole Overton.
Overton followed Ferrell into the Marine Corps and graduated boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina 20 days after Ferrell.
More than two years later, Maryland State Police has exhausted all the leads that troopers followed in this case, according to Sgt. Taluskie.
There is a sizable reward being offered by the family and Metro Crime Stoppers for information that could get Troopers on the right track.
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Call 1 (866) 7LOCKUP with tips and information or to turn yourself in.