A five-car accident that injured three people shut down the Baltimore Beltway's inner loop yesterday for much of the evening rush hour, tying up thousands of motorists in the Towson area, state police said.
The pileup, which occurred at 4 p.m. on eastbound Interstate 695 just west of the Providence Road overpass, sent a 38-year-old Parkville man and a 65-year-old New York man to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and created a four-mile backup that stretched from Providence Road to Interstate 83, said Trooper Mark Webster, who was investigating the accident.
Claude Monte Nash of the 8500 block of Willow Oak Road in Parkville and Harry Bloxenhein of Staten Island had to be extricated from their cars before they were flown to Shock Trauma, where they were in serious but stable condition, Trooper Webster said.
A third man, Jonathan Harry Howard, 19, of the 8000 block of Gray Haven Road in Dundalk, was treated at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
The accident closed the inner loop for 15 minutes before cars began creeping along the shoulder of the road, Trooper Webster said. It was closed for another 15 minutes when the medevac helicopter landed.
It took about 90 minutes before all three lanes were reopened, freeing Beltway traffic that had been brought to a standstill on the ramps and secondary roads between Providence Road and I-83, he said.
Trooper Webster said charges are pending against Mr. Howard, who was driving a 1975 Ford pickup truck owned by the Marton Corp. of Hanover.
Mr. Howard was driving in the far left lane of the Beltway and failed to slow down as the cars in front of him did, the trooper said. The pickup slammed into the rear of Mr. Nash's 1984 BMW, sending the BMW skidding into Mr. Bloxenhein's 1983 Buick Regal in the middle lane.
Two other cars were clipped in the chain reaction and received minor damage, Trooper Webster said. The drivers, Peter Cavanaugh, 42, of the 8500 block of Bassett Road in Kenwood, and Linda Rose Persiani, 39, of the 2800 block of Moorgate Road in Dundalk, were not injured.
Police believe Mr. Howard was driving about 55 or 60 mph when the accident occurred. Trooper Webster said police have ruled out alcohol as a cause but still must examine the pickup truck for brake failure or other mechanical malfunction.