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Blair supervisor seized at crash site

Scuffles with trooper at Flight 93 scene

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

By Tom Gibb, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A township supervisor from Blair County -- "a very deep thinker" emotionally wrenched by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, his wife said -- was arrested for trying to force his way onto the United Flight 93 crash site in Somerset County after first lying to police that he was related to one of the victims.

"He was cussing and whatever. He kept yelling, 'Is there any media around here?' " Salvation Army Field Director Chris Crow said Monday after state troopers subdued 60-year-old Terrence Claar.

Claar, a retiree in his second year as a supervisor in suburban Altoona's Blair Township, was charged with criminal mischief and taken for a physical and mental evaluation, state police said. His wife, Virginia, said yesterday her husband was not injured in the incident but had been hospitalized. She declined to identify the hospital or say what her husband was being treated for.

The site, near Shanksville, was deemed a crime scene and ruled off-limits to the public shortly after the airliner crashed there Sept. 11, killing all 44 people aboard. The main entrance to the site has been watched by state troopers.

At about 10 a.m. Monday, Claar became the seventh person charged with trying to breach the boundaries, joining a group that consists mostly of curiosity seekers and a pair of free-lance photographers.

"He came, claiming he was a family member, but the investigation showed he wasn't family," state police Capt. Frank Monaco said. "Then, he came back and tried to get in again."

This time, when he was rebuffed, Claar tussled with a state trooper, denting a Salvation Army vehicle, Crow said.

"He didn't have an agenda," Virginia Claar said. "Emotionally, the events [of Sept. 11] ... were very difficult for him."

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