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Tractor-trailer driver indicted on manslaughter charges in Bel Air crash that killed Klein’s president, 7-year-old

The driver of a tractor-trailer involved in a crash that killed two people on Route 24 in March was indicted Tuesday on charges of manslaughter and using a cellphone while driving, according to the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Carloo Watson, who was 49 at the time of the crash, of Brunswick, New Jersey, was indicted by a Harford County grand jury on two counts of gross negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, two counts of criminal negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, and four counts of causing serious injury while using a cellphone.

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A warrant has been issued for his arrest, State’s Attorney Al Peisinger said. Peisinger said he could not comment on the case because it’s still under investigation.

Watson was driving the ShopRite tractor-trailer south on Route 24 in Bel Air around 7 a.m. March 11 when it crashed through a line of rush-hour traffic at Ring Factory Road and burst into flames as it came to rest.

Killed were Andrew Klein, 65, of Forest Hill and president of Klein’s Family Markets, and 7-year-old Tripp Johnson, a second grader at William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary in Abingdon.

Four other people were seriously injured.

Route 24 was closed for most of the day as investigators combed through the line of debris that stretched for at least a quarter of a mile.

Gross negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison with a $5,000 fine, while criminal negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of three years of incarceration with a $5,000 fine.

Causing serious injury while using a cellphone is a traffic offense that carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail with a $5,000 fine.

Sarah Klein, one of Andrew Klein’s three children, said news of the indictment wouldn’t bring her father back.

“He’s still not here,” Klein said of her father. “To me, it really has no effect. The fact that he’s not here and that little boy’s not here, whoever’s at fault doesn’t matter.”

Tuesday’s indictment brings the tragedy back to the forefront, she said.

“I still have lot of trouble with it. Some people have moved on; it’s still very open to me,” Klein said, noting she still can’t drive down Route 24.

The accident is still very raw in people’s minds, she said, and they’ll be talking about it again.

“People want to ask questions. I just want to get through the day,” she said.

Klein has found some comfort in a group of people who have suffered similar, significant tragic losses, she said.

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“It’s a new group I can lean on and don’t think I would have ever gotten that,” Klein said. “They know what it’s like to lose someone tragically. It helps you process things.”

Tripp Johnson’s great-uncle, Craig Falanga, called Tuesday’s indictment “another tragic chapter in the story.”

“It was not my hope that the driver was negligent in any way. That only makes another family have rough times in front of them,” he said. “My prayers go out to all families affected, the victims’ as well as the driver’s.”

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