State Police are continuing to investigate the cause of a three-car accident in Harford County that killed two women and injured three others.
The accident, which occurred at 10:30 a.m. yesterday near the Mountain Road interchange on Interstate 95, was the third fatal wreck on the John F. Kennedy Highway since late March involving cars crossing the median and striking oncoming traffic.
It also was the eighth such fatal crash on the 45-mile-long stretch of I-95 since March 1988. Two fatal crashes earlier this year -- one April 1 near Aberdeen that killed four people and another March 29 in Cecil County that killed five people -- prompted state officials to speed up the installation of median bar
riers to prevent such accidents.
Killed in yesterday's accident was Virginia A. Oakes, 61, of Roanoke, Va., the driver and only occupant of a 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier that was southbound on I-95.
The name of the other woman killed and the passenger in the northbound car was being withheld pending notification of relatives.
Police said Oakes was driving south when her car was struck head-on by a Mazda occupied by two women. The Mazda had veered from the highway's northbound lanes less than a quarter-mile north of the Mountain Road (Md. 152) interchange. The northbound car crossed the median strip and entered the southbound lanes.
The wreckage was then struck by a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis occupied by Michael Freed, of Coconut Creek, Fla., and his wife, Faye Freed, both 78.
Michael Freed today was in serious but stable condition at Fallston General Hospital following surgery.
His wife was treated at Fallston General and released.
The southbound lanes of I-95 at Mountain Road were closed for about 90 minutes after the accident so the roadway could be cleared for rescue operations and post-accident investigations.
Officials with the Maryland Transportation Authority, which manages, maintains and operates the JFK Highway, have said that median barriers were necessary on the highway.
"We've felt for a while they were necessary," said Tom Freburger, an authority spokesman. But, he added, "this isn't the only stretch in Maryland where you have this problem."
Freburger said median barriers were being installed on about half of the 30 miles between Md. 24 near Bel Air north to the Delaware border. That project is expected to be completed by late summer. The barriers are being installed on areas of the median that are less than 75 feet wide, he said.
On the remaining miles between Interstate 695 north to Md. 24, the authority is widening the roadway on both sides and installing median barriers on the entire stretch. That project is expected to be completed within about 14 months.
Yesterday's accident occurred in an area where construction has not yet begun.