NTSB: Bay Bridge Tractor-Trailer Driver Was On First U.S. Trip Alone
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A terrifying crash. A car plunges off the Bay Bridge after being rear-ended by a truck in July. Now, there are new questions about that truck driver’s qualifications as federal investigators release a revealing report.
Meghan McCorkell has details on that report.
Federal investigators say that truck driver did not have a lot of experience and admits he was distracted at the time of the crash.
Clinging to rocks after swimming for her life, Morgan Lake, 24, recalls the agonizing moment her car plunged 27 feet off the Bay Bridge.
“I got one good scream in and after that scream, the car hit the water,” she said.
Investigators say a tractor-trailer slammed into the back of Lake’s car, sending it over the barrier and into the water.
According to a new NTSB report, the truck driver is a 29-year-old man working for Bulk Carriers of Prince Edward Island, Canada. He’d only been employed with the company since April 2013. Investigators say the driver was part of a pilot program and his trip over the Bay Bridge was his first solo trip in the United States without a more experienced driver by his side.
The truck driver admitted to investigators he was distracted by lights and sounds behind him and looked in his side mirror. By the time he realized traffic in front of him was stopped, it was too late.
The admission has other drivers we spoke with scared about big rigs on the bridge.
“Usually I’m not too worried about it but if we have drivers out there without experience, then yeah, it’s an issue,” said driver Robbie Mulloy.
“They’re so large and the bridge is so small. The lanes aren’t that big,” said driver Breanna Dagen.
The truck driver could potentially face charges in the crash after a state investigation is complete.
The Maryland Transit Administration plans to release its final report within the next two weeks.
Federal investigators say the barriers on the bridge did not break during the crash and appear to meet safety standards.
The Maryland Transportation Authority released a statement responding to the NTSB’s report.
“The NTSB has the full cooperation of the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) as investigators prepare their final report and recommendations related to the Bay Bridge crash on July 19. NTSB’s initial report issued today does not indicate any structural concerns for the barrier type used on the Bay Bridge and on interstate bridges across the country.
The MDTA Police investigation, conducted in coordination with Maryland State Police, is nearing completion. The MDTA Police Collision Reconstruction Unit expects to release its report within the next two weeks. At that time, they will provide the cause and sequence of the crash, along with any charges.”