2 women killed when dump truck hits car


Two women were killed yesterday afternoon when a 5-ton Anne Arundel County dump truck struck their Chevette near Annapolis and Oakton roads, county police said.

It was the second fatal accident involving a county dump truck in a little more than a month.

The car driver, Blanche Viola Pleyo, 69, of the 300 block of Nevada Ave. in Odenton and her passenger, Philis Ellen Hodgeson, 66, of the 500 block of Patuxent Road in Odenton were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Their 1984 Chevrolet Chevette was nearly demolished, the hood almost sheared off and the front end crushed, police said.

A preliminary investigation indicated the dump truck was heading west on Annapolis Road about 1:45 p.m. The women were riding east in the slow lane when the truck driver slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting a car that had stopped to make a left on Oakton Road. The truck skidded and veered into the path of the Chevette, police said.

The passenger side of the truck slammed into the car. Police said the driver of the dump truck, Jerome C. Burkett, 54, of Odenton was taken to North Arundel Hospital, where he was treated for a leg injury.

Mr. Burkett has not been charged.

Police said the state's attorney's office determines after an investigation if anyone will be charged after a fatal traffic accident.

On May 30, Edna Belle Hutchison, 53, of the 100 block of Water Fountain Way in Glen Burnie was run over and killed by a county dump truck at a Texaco station at Ritchie Highway and Ordnance Road. The driver of that truck, Donald Conway, 39, of the 600 block of Waugh Chapel Road in Odenton did not see Ms. Hutchison as he pulled the 10-wheel truck from the gas station into the southbound lanes of Ritchie Highway.

Mr. Burkett, who has worked for the county Department of Public Works for 24 years, is a custodian with the Western District roads bureau.

His commercial drivers license, issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration on March 1, 1993, allows him to drive the DPW's larger trucks. His driving record shows no points or violations within the past three years.

The truck passed its state vehicle inspection in October and had routine maintenance to its air brakes March 10.

Lisa Ritter, a Public Works spokeswoman, said Mr. Burkett was tested for drug use after he was taken to the hospital yesterday. She said the tests are standard policy after accidents involving employees. Test results were not available yesterday evening.

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