Three people were killed late last night when the car in which they were riding was struck by a flatbed tractor-trailer at Route 408 and Sands Road near Wayson's Corner in southwestern Anne Arundel County, police said.
Officer Thomas Wagner, a county police spokesman, said the 80,000-pound tractor-trailer, which was hauling compacted trash, was westbound on Route 408 about 10:30 p.m. when it broadsided a late-model four-door Dodge Shadow, whose driver had stopped at a stop sign at Sands Road and then proceeded into the path of the truck.
"The truck driver had no chance to stop," Officer Wagner said.
Police had identified two of the three victims by midmorning.
Frances Joanne Madden, 35, of the 4700 block of Flanders Lane in Harwood was the driver of the car, police said. She was identified from her driver's license, police said.
Darryl Rene Coates, 34, of the 6600 block of Ronald Road in Capital Heights, was a passenger in the rear seat of the car. He was identified by his brother, police said.
The third victim is still unidentified, police said. She was in the front passenger seat. She had no identification and was unknown to residents of the area. Police said they will try to identify her by fingerprints.
Officer Wagner said that after the impact, the tractor-trailer pushed the car in front of it for several hundred feet, until both vehicles struck an embankment.
At that point, much of the compacted trash was thrown from the flatbed and onto the pavement.
Officer Wagner said the impact was so great that both vehicles plowed large amounts of dirt in front of them. The car was partially buried and its occupants crushed in their seats, he said.
The occupants of the car were pronounced dead at the scene, Officer Wagner said.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was slightly injured but refused medical treatment at the scene, Officer Wagner said.
More than an hour after the collision, county fire department rescuers were still attempting to untangle both vehicles.
The victims were trapped in the vehicle at least two hours after the accident, authorities said.
Officer Wagner said the crash scene was one of the worst he had seen in many years.
"The car is totally demolished and buried under a large mound of earth at the foot of an embankment, and we can't even tell what kind of car it is," Officer Wagner said shortly after he reached the scene.
Shortly after the crash, several people arrived at the scene and became emotional after recognizing the car. It is believed that some of them knew the victims, he said.
No charges had been placed and the cause of the accident remained under investigation.