3 pulled from water in Bay Bridge incidents; 2 dead
A strange, tragic day on the Bay Bridge resulted in the death of one man thrown from the eastbound span and into the bay when a truck ran into his car and life-threatening injuries to a another man who was died after going over the side of the westbound span. Meanwhile, a third person was pulled from the water under the bridge with life-threatening injuries.
The first incident, in which a truck plowed into the rear of a disabled vehicle about 10:25 a.m., closed the eastbound span for several hours and led to massive traffic backups. The second incident, in which a vehicle was left unattended in the only open westbound lane, blocked traffic in that direction for about a half hour.
Sgt. Jonathan Green, a spokesmen for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, said the crash occurred about halfway between the water's edge on the Anne Arundel County side and the large curve well-known to users of the bridge. Green said a 2001 Honda Accord broke down in the right-hand lane, the only one open at the time, and its driver left the vehicle. A 2003 International truck, which was not pulling a trailer, then struck the rear of the Honda and forced it into the car's driver, pushing him over the Jersey barrier wall and into the water. Green said the bridge deck is 52 1/2 feet above the water at that point.
Green said the 70-year-old victim was pulled from the water by a transportation police marine unit boat that was in the area and taken to a dock near Sandy Point. From there the Anne Arundel County Fire Department took him to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Green said.
The spokesman said police have identified the victim but were not yet releasing his name pending notification of his family.
Green said the truck's driver, a 63-year-old man, refused treatment at the scene. He said a witness to the crash, a 54-year-old woman who was not in either vehicle, was treated for a medical emergency.
Green said the second incident occurred about 12:30 p.m. when a 2008 Toyota sedan was reported unattended in the right lane of the westbound span, which was in two-way operations at the time with the middle lane being used as a buffer. An adult male was recovered from the water below, Green said.
According to the spokesman, the Anne Arundel fire department provided initial treatment before the man was taken to the Maryland Shock-Trauma Center in Baltimore with "life-threatening injuries." He was not identified.
Another unattended vehicle, which Green described as a 2000 Toyota four-door, was found on the westbound span shortly afterward. Green said that apparent driver was pulled from the water and was pronounced dead.
Kelly Melhem, a spokeswoman for the transportation authority, said the agency would not comment on the reason the man ended up in the water. However, she noted that the authority has a policy against commenting on suicide attempts out of a concern that the "contagion" could lead to other incidents.
In the first crash, Green said the transportation police department's accident reconstruction team is investigating the crash. He said any decision about whether to bring charges would ultimately be made by the Anne Arundel County state's attorney.
The eastbound span was reopened at 1:49 p.m.
Melhem said the authority advises motorists whose vehicles become disabled on the Bay Bridge to remain in their vehicles until emergency assistance arrives.