A driver trying to make a U-turn through a median strip crossover on Interstate 70 yesterday set in motion an accident in which a flatbed truck crushed another car, killing its driver, Maryland State Police said.
The overturned truck splayed across all three westbound lanes of I-70, just beyond the Beltway, stopping all westbound traffic for about five hours and spurring miles-long traffic tie-ups around the heavily traveled area where the interstate meets the Baltimore Beltway in western Baltimore County.
Police said the accident happened about 11:30 a.m., when the driver of a white 2001 Mitsubishi Galant made a sharp left turn from the center lane of the westbound side of the highway - across the fast lane - in an effort to use the crossover. The area is marked with signs that say, "for authorized emergency vehicles only."
"This all could have been avoided," said Sgt. Thornnie Rouse, a state police spokesman. "The driver simply could have gone to the next exit."
State police gave this account:
During the Mitsubishi's maneuver, the drivers of both the flatbed truck, which was immediately behind the Mitsubishi, and a blue 1993 Chevrolet Lumina in the fast lane slammed their brakes.
The Mitsubishi made it to the median, but the truck jackknifed, smashed into the driver's side of the Lumina, hit a guardrail and toppled over.
The Lumina driver, identified as Raymond Schroder, 57, of Westminster, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was in the Lumina.
The truck driver, Joseph W. Carmine, 33, of Wintersville, Ohio, was taken by ambulance to Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Police did not release the name of the Mitsubishi's driver, who was not injured.
Traffic was not allowed on westbound I-70 between the Beltway and U.S. 29 until about 4:30 p.m. Both directions of the Beltway also were affected.