Lewes woman dies in Route 1 crash

March 26, 2014

A 72-year-old Lewes woman died March 25 when her car collided with a truck tractor on Route 1 north of Milton. State police are investigating the crash.

Police say about 1:50 p.m., Joseph D. Waples, 49, of Ellendale was driving a 2007 Freightliner Bobtail truck tractor westbound from Truitt Road, crossing over Route 1 and continuing west on Clifton Road. The truck tractor crossed the northbound lanes and entered the center cross-over where police say it stopped at the stop sign.

Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said the truck then continued into the southbound lanes of Route 1 and into the path of a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country operated by Margaret M. Clift of Lewes, whose husband, James C. Clift, 73, was a passenger in the car.

The Chrysler, in the right lane, struck the right rear tandem tires of the truck and rotated clockwise, coming to a stop in the intersection. The truck continued westbound and rotated 180 degrees before coming to a stop in the eastbound lanes of Clifton Road.

Margaret, who was properly restrained, was removed from the scene by EMS and taken to Milford Memorial Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.  James, also properly restrained, was taken to Beebe Medical Center where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Waples was properly restrained and was uninjured in the crash.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit is continuing its investigation; no charges have been filed.  Route 1 southbound at Clifton Road was closed for more than two hours as the crash was investigated and cleared.

Investigators request that any witnesses to this crash contact Cpl. J. Wheatley at 302-644-5020 ext. 118 or by using the Delaware State Police Mobile Crime Tip Application available to download at:

Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."


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