The accident occurred shortly before 10 p.m. on Route 543 about half a mile south of Wheel Road a few miles southeast of Bel Air.
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Rte 543 & E Wheel Rd, Bel Air South, MD 21015, USA
All three were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Their bodies were taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsies, including toxicology reports.
Two other people were injured and taken to Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore by Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company ambulances, according to Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Harford County Fire and Ambulance Association. Two other people involved declined medical treatment at the scene, Gardiner said.
The siblings were in a 2003 Chevy Cavalier heading south on Route 543 about a half mile south of Wheel Road when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the double yellow center lines, Greg Shipley, spokesman for Maryland State Police, said early Tuesday morning.
Police were still trying to determine who was driving and who was seated where in the Cavalier, which, when it crossed the center lines, sideswiped a Toyota heading north on Route 543. The Cavalier began to spin and was T-boned by a 2007 Acura also heading north on Route 543, Shipley said.
The impact split the Cavalier in half – one half was still on the road, the other half was over the guardrail and in a wooded area. The two brothers were ejected from the car, Shipley said, and troopers were unable to determine if either was wearing a seat belt. The sister, who appeared to be wearing a seat belt, was still in the car.
Car parts and glass were spread over a lengthy section of the road.
"There are vehicle pieces and debris littered across an area that's a tenth of a mile in length," Shipley said. "The vehicle was split in half. One part is at the southern most end of the scene, the other half is near the northern side."
Members of the Maryland State Police CRASH team were still piecing together what happened and what may have caused the accident. They also are trying to determine if speed and/or alcohol were factors. Elena Russo, a state police spokeswoman, said Tuesday afternoon said the crash was still being investigated.
All three vehicles were still at the scene early Tuesday morning. By mid-day Tuesday, they had been removed, but visible signs of the horrific crash remained.
Green lines dotted the road indicating tire paths or where a bumper came to rest. Latex gloves were scattered around. Small pieces of shattered debris were strewn across both shoulders of the busy road. On one side, a large piece of wreckage hung in a tree. A rearview mirror was on one side of the road, a headlight on the other.
Besides the three who were killed, two others were injured in the accident. Ryan B. Cooper, 29, of the 100 block of Briarcliff Lane in Bel Air, who was driving the Acura, and his passenger, Sean P. O'Brien, 30, of the 3700 block of Wolf Trail Drive in Abingdon, were both taken by ambulance from Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company to Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, where they were listed in stable condition around 1 a.m. Tuesday, Shipley said.
They were not listed Tuesday afternoon in Bayview's hospital directory.
The driver of the Toyota, Hua Lin, 30, of the 300 block of South Main Street in Bel Air, and his passenger, Du Gi Lin, 34, whose address was unavailable, were not injured in the crash, Shipley said.
Both the Harford County Sheriff's Office and Maryland State Police dispatched officers to the scene. Rescue personnel from local volunteer fire companies also were at the scene.
EMS personnel responding to the scene knew multiple injuries were reported and called for two Maryland State Police Medevac helicopters – Trooper 1 based at Martin State Airport and Trooper 2 based at Andrews Air Force Base.
As Trooper 1 approached to land in a yard just off of Route 543, Shipley said, the crew on board said they felt a "shudder" from one of the engines and a caution light came on in the cockpit.
The pilot, who was in his descent, made a "wheels down, normal landing" and shut down the aircraft, according to a state police news release. As the flight paramedic got out, one of the two engines appeared to be on fire, which was put out with fire extinguishers by firefighters from Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.
Trooper 2 was circling overhead. It was not needed to fly either of the other two people injured for treatment, but instead the chopper helped investigators on the ground by illuminating the area, helping to ensure no other victims had been ejected from any of the cars involved, according to the news release.
State Police Aviation Command officers and technicians assessed the damage to the American Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter, which was delivered to state police in 1999, before it was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and taken back to aviation command headquarters at Martin Airport where it was to be inspected. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were notified of the incident, according to the news release.
State police said they had no indication as to what caused the malfunction.
Route 543 was closed from Wheel Road south and from Route 136 north, as traffic was detoured via Schucks Road, while members of the Maryland State Police CRASH Team collected evidence from the accident.
Route 543 reopened about 5 a.m. Tuesday.
The three deaths Monday brought to six the number of people killed on Harford County highways in 2012. Five of the fatalities occurred since Feb. 7.
Check back with http://www.exploreharford.com for updates on this developing story.