Police: Distracted Driving Caused Bay Bridge Crash - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Police: Distracted Driving Caused Bay Bridge Crash

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBOC/AP)- A Maryland Transportation Authority Police investigation has found that distracted driving caused a July crash on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that sent a car falling 27 feet into the water.

The agency's report released Thursday says the driver of a tractor-trailer was looking at his driver's side mirror due to flashing lights behind him on the evening of July 19. He was going between 47 and 51 mph and did not see traffic stopped ahead, according to the report.

The impact pushed a Chrysler Sebring sedan up onto the bridge's barrier wall. A second impact then pushed the car over the edge and into the shallow waters of the bay. The driver of the car, identified as 23-year-old Morgan Jade Lake of Sunderland, Md., was able to free herself and swim to safety. 

Police are charging 29-year-old truck driver Gabor Lovasz of Canada with negligent driving and other charges with fines totaling $670. According to the report, Lovasz had emigrated from Hungary to Canada as part of Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker program, and his trip through Maryland was his first time driving unaccompanied in the U.S. 

"This crash demonstrates how critical it is that motorists devote their full attention to driving when operating motor vehicles," said transportation authority Police Chief Col. Michael Kundrat. "A primary reason for crashes on the Bay Bridge is tailgating."
 
The report also studied a crash from April 13, 2013, that occurred in the same location of the eastbound bridge span. That crash involved a car coming to rest on the barrier wall. It was also a result of distracted driving, police said.
 
"With two similar incidents over the last few months, we are taking a closer look at this area of the bridge to evaluate what can be done to enhance safety," Kundrat said.
 
Police are considering flashing signs to warn of congestion, requiring use of headlights and adding additional rumble strips.
 
The April and July crashes are the only known ones where passenger vehicles rode up and rested on the barrier wall or fell into the water in the bridge's 60-year history, police said. In a 2008 crash, a tractor-trailer crashed through a concrete barrier and plunged into the bay, killing the driver.

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