Van, light rail collide downtown

The Baltimore Sun

A van driven by a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman collided yesterday with a light rail train in downtown Baltimore and spun onto a sidewalk where it nearly struck a man and his infant daughter in a baby carriage, authorities said.

The father and his 11-month-old girl suffered minor cuts and bruises when they fell as the van came near them and stopped with one wheel on the sidewalk in front of the Camden Court apartment building.

The girl fell out of her stroller after her father jerked it back to save her from being hit, said Jawauna Greene, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transit Administration, which operates the light rail.

The van's driver, a midshipman whose name was not released by the Naval Academy in Annapolis, was not injured, authorities said.

Greene said the drivers of the light rail and the van are not suspected of being impaired by alcohol or drugs. In accident cases, Greene said, "we immediately take [light rail operators] out of duty and do drug testing, just to make sure we fully assess the situation."

The accident occurred about 6:20 a.m. at Lombard and Howard streets near the Bromo Seltzer Tower and less than a block from the John F. Steadman Fire Station, which houses Rescue 1, the city's premier rescue unit.

The impact shattered several of the van's windows and sent the vehicle spinning onto the sidewalk of the northwest corner of the intersection. It caused delays of more than 20 minutes on the light rail line yesterday morning, officials said.

Deborah Goode, a spokeswoman for the Naval Academy, declined to release the name of the midshipman who was driving the van, saying the school was conducting its own investigation into the accident.

The school also declined to say why the midshipman was in the van. "Midshipmen duty drivers routinely transport other midshipmen throughout the area for official business," Goode said in a statement.

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