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Truck Driver’s Inattention, Inexperience Cause Of July Bay Bridge Accident

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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STEVENSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A terrifying plunge off the Bay Bridge and into the water last summer launched a number of investigations. Now the findings of a federal report are out.

Alex DeMetrick reports on what the NTSB found.

Morgan Lake’s car ended up in the bay through no fault of her own.

One minute she was stopped in traffic on the Bay Bridge. The next she was swimming for her life after her car was forced over the jersey wall.

“I got one good scream in.  And after that scream the car hit the water, and my mouth filled up with water,” Lake said.

Calls to 911 told how it happened.

“An 18-wheeler just pushed it over the wall,” one caller said.

Why it happened launched investigations by state and federal accident experts.

Now in an Internet posting, the NTSB reports the cause was inattention by the truck’s driver, who took his eyes off the road.

The NTSB finding closely mirrors what the state’s own investigation determined.

“His attention was directed to the driver’s side mirror due to flashing headlights behind him. The tractor-trailer was going between 47 and 51 miles per hour just prior to impact,” said Col. Michael Kundrat, MdTA police chief.

“About 70 percent of the accidents are rear-end crashes,” said Bruce Gartner, executive director MdTA.

The NTSB found the site of last summer’s crash is also an accident hot spot. And changes are resulting.

“They have curve signs, reminding motorists of the road curving.  They will be posting signs reminding motorists what exactly the speed is,” said Regina Cooper-Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson.

The NTSB report also cited the truck driver’s inexperience as a contributing factor in the accident. It was his first solo trip from Canada into the United States and his first time crossing the Bay Bridge.

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