BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — Two people are dead, including an 7-year-old boy, in a twelve-vehicle crash in Bel Air Monday.
Maryland State Police identified the dead as 7-year-old Tripp Johnson of Joppa and 65-year-old Andrew Klein of Forest Hill.
Multiple police, fire and state agencies responded to the fatal crash involved 12 vehicles on Route 24 at Ring Factory Road around 7 a.m.
Police said in the initial investigation they learned a tractor-trailer was traveling south on Route 24 north of Ring Factory Road, when the truck driver failed to stop and collided with several vehicles who were stopped due to a backup at the intersection.
“Exactly why that tractor-trailer failed to stop at that time, is still under investigation,” Ron Snyder, spokesman for the Maryland State Police, said.
The tractor-trailer, carrying cargo for ShopRite grocery stores, finally came to rest at the intersection before catching fire with two cars still pinned underneath it.
Police identified the truck driver as 49-year-old Carloo Watson of Brunswick, N.J.
A total of six people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, including Tripp.
Here are the names of some of other victims:
- Ubaldo Juarez, 54, of Bel Air, Maryland. He was transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
- Sharon Sexton, 57, of Forest Hill, Maryland. She was transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
- Megan Fulleylove, 30, of Joppa, Maryland. She was transported to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.
Tripp was a student in Harford County Public Schools. The schools released a statement expressing their condolences:
“It is with great sadness that we share the tragic passing of one of our school community. Tripp Johnson was a second grade student at William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School where students and staff who knew him will continue to celebrate his cheerful personality. It is very difficult for all of us to face the death of a young person; a support team of psychologists, counselors, and pupil personnel workers have joined the staff at William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary school to support students and staff through this difficult time. We ask for the community’s continued understanding and respect as we grieve this tragic loss.”
Klein was one of the owners of Klein Supermarkets, which is now known as Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland.
ShopRite released a statement about Klein:
We are shocked and saddened to learn about the tragic accident that took place in Maryland today and claimed two precious lives, including an eight year old boy and our own beloved ShopRite family member Andrew Klein, President of Klein’s Family Markets.
Our hearts grieve with both families, and on behalf of the Klein family, we ask that the media and those seeking to express their condolences respect the family’s privacy at this time.
We are cooperating fully with the police, and because this is an active accident investigation, we cannot provide further comment.
He was also a local philanthropist.
“University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) is saddened by the untimely and tragic passing of Andy Klein in this morning’s unspeakable traffic accident. Andy and his wife, Jayne, were major local philanthropists, particularly in their support of our health organization. Andy’s dedication to Upper Chesapeake included his service on the UM UCH and its hospitals’ Boards of Directors since 2004 and the UCH Foundation Board of Directors since 2003. Most recently, he served as Vice Chairperson of the UCH Foundation Board since 2015. Andy was also the founding Chair of the Senator Bob Hooper House Board located in Forest Hill. He was serving as an honorary chair of the Your Health, Our Mission: Caring for Our Families Together campaign where he was a visionary and leading proponent of the Harford Crisis Center as well as a generous supporter,” the hospital said in a statement.
Southbound Route 24 was closed between Plumtree Road and Marketplace Drive for nine hours. It reopened just before 5 p.m.
Motorists were advised to avoid both Route 24 and 924 in that area.
Drivers were told to expect traffic delays in the area.
Gov. Larry Hogan shared his condolences on Twitter,
“Sending prayers to everyone involved in this morning’s devastating accident, including the families and loved ones of the two victims who lost their lives. My deepest gratitude goes to the first responders who rushed to the scene,” Hogan tweeted.
Editor’s Note: Police initially stated the boy that died was 8 years old. He’s 7. We’ve updated our story to reflect this.