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Light load a key factor in Bay Bridge accident, police say

A tractor-trailer that flipped on the Bay Bridge last week was carrying a load too light for the gusty conditions, a situation made worse when the trailer's soft canvas wall caught the wind like a sail, transportation authorities said Friday.

"The vehicle shouldn't have been there," said Sgt. Jonathan Green, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

The truck's driver, James T. Savage Jr., 53 of Owings Mills, received a $90 citation for failing to obey highway signs warning of wind restrictions on the bridge, Green said. Savage could not be reached for comment Friday. He received minor injuries in the accident.

A safety inspection of the truck revealed a cracked brake lining, Green said, resulting in a $540 fine. The truck is owned by Cardinal Logistics Management Corp. of Concord, N.C.

The March 6 accident closed the westbound span for about a half-hour before both sides were shut down because of 55 mph winds.

Green said the trailer had a load weighing no more than 4,000 pounds, which he called "way too light" for the windy conditions. "The light load, paired with the sail effect, was the primary cause for the truck overturning," he said.

scalvert@baltsun.com

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