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Fatal truck accident on Maryland bridge raises safety concerns

Last week, a frightening truck accident on the Bay Bridge claimed the life of a 70-year-old Maryland man. Harry Blauvelt was a long-time golf writer for USA Today before retiring to Chester, Maryland. Like many residents on Kent Island, he was dependent on the Bay Bridge and had expressed concerns over the safety of bridge.

Seven years ago, Blauvelt spoke out about the dangerous conditions on the bridge at a Kent Island community meeting. He greatly feared the two-way traffic on the narrow bridge and he had referred to its lanes as "suicide lanes."

Last week, after dropping his dog off at canine daycare like he had done so often before, he was driving back to Kent Island on the Bay Bridge in his Honda Accord. His Honda stalled next to a closed lane on the eastbound side of the bridge. This left traffic behind him blocked.

When his car stalled, he exited his vehicle and he was standing in front of it when a truck crashed into the back of his Accord. His accord flew forward, striking Blauvelt. The impact sent Blauvelt over the bridge wall and down 50 feet into Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police pulled Blauvelt from the water and he was rushed to Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to a Maryland Transportation Authority Police spokesman, the leftmost lane on the eastbound span of the Bay Bridge was shut down for maintenance at the time of the fatal accident. The spokesman said it is too soon to know if the driver of the truck will face any criminal charges and that an investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Source: The Capital, "Bridge victim outspoken about spans' dangers," E.B. Ferguson III, 4/21/2011

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