A Maryland state trooper trying to reach a truck driver suffering a heart attack yesterday lost control of his patrol car and crashed into the woods after running over a yield sign.
Trooper Robert Lee Harvey Jr., 25, of Frederick was in fair and stable condition last night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center with cuts on his face.
The man who suffered the heart attack died shortly after arriving at Harbor Hospital Center. Police said he would have died regardless of whether Trooper Harvey, the medic for the state police's Frederick aviation hangar, crashed on his way to the scene.
Sgt. Raymond J. Clasing of the Glen Burnie barracks said Trooper Harvey was driving south on Interstate 97 about 1:30 p.m. when he heard a state trooper call over the radio that a man was suffering a heart attack on the Baltimore Beltway south of the Key Bridge, about six miles away.
Trooper Harvey was not dispatched to the scene, but he "must have heard this and turned around and headed that way," Sergeant Clasing said.
Police said Trooper Harvey lost control of his car while getting on the outer loop of the Beltway from northbound I-97.
"He was on the ramp, and he lost control of his car, which traveled onto the right roadside, where he struck a sign post and hit two small trees," Sergeant Clasing said. "The car traveled 15 feet down an embankment where it came to a rest."
Police said a passing motorist stopped to help the trooper and call
for assistance. Two lanes of the outer loop were closed for about 40 minutes to land the state police helicopter.
Sergeant Clasing said Trooper Harvey, who has been on the force about one year, had his emergency lights flashing but was going too fast for the road conditions.
He said that when the final investigation is completed, the trooper could receive a departmental citation for speeding.
The truck driver suffered a heart attack just after crossing the Key Bridge. His tractor-trailer veered to the right and hit a guardrail, said Thomas Freburger, a spokesman with the Maryland Department of Transportation, which oversees the Toll Facilities Police.
Mr. Freburger said Hershel Edgar Fields, 54, of Churchill, Tenn., died despite frantic efforts to save him. He said Toll Facility officers administered CPR until paramedics arrived. He said his department did not call the state police for assistance.