Baltimore, Rhodesdale men killed in crashes


A Northwest Baltimore man died early yesterday when he was thrown from his car after losing control of it as he turned off the Baltimore Beltway onto U.S. 40 east, state police said.

Melvin Joseph Topa III, 21, of the 8000 block of Babikow Road near White Marsh, was driving west on Interstate 695 at 12:50 a.m. when he lost control on the exit curve, police said.

His 1978 Mercury hit the left guardrail, left the ground, hit an embankment and came to rest on some railroad tracks.

Mr. Topa was thrown from the car onto the tracks, police said. The car overturned and caught fire after the driver was thrown from it. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

L Alcohol and speed were factors in the accident, police said.

Meanwhile yesterday, a Dorchester County man died of injuries suffered in a collision of two pickup trucks Friday in Sharptown, Wicomico County, state police reported.

They said Paul Knode, 26, of Rhodesdale, was driving a 1987 GMC pickup truck south on Main Street about 7 p.m. when he ran a red light at the intersection of Route 313. The Knode vehicle collided with a 1976 Chevrolet pickup truck heading west on Route 313.

Mr. Knode was taken to Peninsula General Hospital, where he died at 12:20 p.m. yesterday, police said.

The driver of the Chevrolet, Carl Yoder, 52, of Westover in Somerset County, was treated at Peninsula General Hospital and released, police said.

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