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A Mechanicsville area man died and his passenger was critically injured Wednesday afternoon when the sport utility vehicle they were riding in went off Maypole Road near Leonardtown, police report, and hit trees along the roadway.

Killed in the 4 p.m. crash was 45-year-old David Jodie Quade, who was driving the 1997 Ford Explorer north on the road away from Route 5 when it left the pavement for unknown reasons and continued traveling in a ditch, according to St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputies. The vehicle’s passenger side rear quarter panel hit one tree, before the SUV spun around and its driver’s side struck another tree.

“The engine compartment was on fire when we arrived,” a senior sheriff’s deputy said of patrol officers’ initial response to the scene. The law officers controlled the fire, the sheriff’s office reports, until fire and rescue volunteers arrived.

Leonardtown firefighters began working to free the two men trapped in the wrecked vehicle, and Hollywood firefighters assisted in the effort, according to an online report by Hollywood firefighter Brandon Wible.

A Maryland State Police helicopter crew flew passenger Joseph Franklin Morgan, a 52-year-old Mechanicsville area resident, the sheriff’s office reports, to the University of Maryland Hospital’s shock-trauma center in Baltimore, where an employee said Thursday that Morgan remained in critical-but-stable condition.

The sheriff’s office reports that the preliminary accident investigation indicates that speeding and alcohol were contributing factors in the crash.

Quade attended Chopticon High School, had two grown daughters and until recently had steady employment doing electrical work, his uncle, Leroy Quade, said Thursday morning outside a home along Laurel Grove Road where both men had lived until about a month ago. David Quade moved out to stay with a girlfriend.

“He was in the electrician business, working for different people. He used to have a pickup truck that he used to work,” Leroy Quade, 66, said of his nephew. “Everything slowed down. Other electricians were hurting just as [bad]. They were fighting over jobs. Jobs are hard to find.”

The sheriff’s office has requested that anyone who witnessed the accident and has not spoken to investigators do so by calling Cpl. Douglas Mills at 301-863-4816, ext. 1456.

jwharton@somdnews.com