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West Hills Woman Killed in Chain-Reaction Howard County Crash

The Cooks Lane woman was waiting to make a left turn in Elkridge when her vehicle was rear-ended, police said.

A 39-year-old woman from Cooks Lane was killed Wednesday in what the Howard County Police Department said was a "chain reaction collision" on US Route 1 in Elkridge.

Rafaella Bonita Griffin, 39, of the 1000 block of Cooks Lane, was waiting to make a left turn into the US 1 shopping center from the through lane of northbound Washington Boulevard at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday when her Volkswagen Jetta was hit by a box truck, police said.

Griffin's car was pushed into a 2006 Chrysler 300 stopped in traffic in front of her on Washington Boulevard, police said.

Police said Griffin was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she died Wednesday evening.

The driver of the 2010 Freightliner box truck was a 56-year-old Elkridge man who was not injured, according to police.

The Chrysler driver, a 40-year-old Clinton man, was also uninjured.

Route 1 was closed in the area between 6:40 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Wednesday for cleanup and investigation, police said.

Preliminary investigation indicated that weather was not a primary cause of the collision, police said, because the road at the crash site was not iced over.

"Investigators are trying to determine why the operators of the Volkswagen and Chrysler were attempting to make a left turn into the shopping center using the through lane of northbound [Route] 1 instead of the designated left-turn lane that services the shopping center," police said in a prepared statement. The investigation was ongoing, police said Thursday.

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