Traffic was brought to a standstill on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and two people — including a Maryland Transportation Authority police officer — were flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center following a two-vehicle crash on Kent Island on Wednesday.
The crash occurred about a half-mile east of the bridge when a vehicle traveling east on Route 50 veered off the highway and crashed into a patrol vehicle that was parked in a crossover area between the eastbound and westbound lanes, said Lt. Kevin Ayd, a MdTA spokesman.
The accident occurred just prior to the highway's first exit on the island, for Romancoke Road. The collision sent the officer's patrol car across all three lanes of eastbound traffic, and sent the other man's vehicle into the left hand lane of westbound Route 50, Ayd said.
Traffic immediately began backing up, and was stopped in both directions along Route 50 for a time so that medevac helicopters could respond to the scene to transport the officer and the other injured driver to Shock Trauma.
Ayd said the officer was in serious but stable condition Wednesday evening, and was alert and talking after the accident. The other driver was also in serious condition, he said.
The accident caused many drivers to be trapped on the east span of the bridge for several hours before lanes were cleared for them to move again. At its peak, traffic was backed up at least 7 miles in both directions. All lanes of the bridge weren't reopened until about 3:30 p.m.
Ayd said the MdTA's crash investigation team is still investigating the accident and trying to determine what caused the driver to leave the roadway.
The accident occurred the same day that MdTA officers were participating in an enforcement initiative on Interstate 95 to raise awareness of the state's new "move over" law, which requires drivers to shift lanes away from emergency vehicles on the side of the road if possible.
Ayd said Wednesday accident was a reminder of the dangers for police, firefighters and other emergency personnel.
"We just ask people to be cautious when they're out there," he said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.