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 the three westbound lanes of I-70, just beyond the Baltimore Beltway, halting traffic in that direction for about five hours and causing miles-long backups 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 "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.
A 38,000-pound roll of steel was thrown from the flatbed, and a small amount of diesel fuel leaked onto the roadway from the truck's gas tank. Crews from the Department of the Environment were able to contain the spill, authorities said.
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. It is state police policy to forward the investigations of serious accidents to the state's attorneys office for possible charges, Rouse said.