The NTSB has released a preliminary report on the July 19, 2013 crash that sent a car over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
According to the report, at approximately 8:24 p.m., a 2007 Chrysler Sebring driven by a 24-year-old Morgan Lake was traveling east on US 50/301 near Annapolis, Maryland. Lake passed through the toll plaza and had entered the eastbound lanes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
The Chrysler was in the right lane and had slowed due to traffic. Moments later, the Chrysler was struck from behind by a 2010 International truck driven by a 29-year-old driver Gabor Lavasz who was on his first solo trip to the U.S.
Lavasz’s truck struck the left rear corner of Lake’s car and pushed it into the concrete barrier. Lake’s car then collided with a 2014 Mazda CX-5.
Lake’s car was then pushed to the top of the concrete barrier. It flipped over the side and fell 27 feet below into the Chesapeake Bay.
Lake’s car plunged into 7 feet of water.
Lake suffered minor injuries but was able to swim to one of the bridge’s piers.
The truck driver and the driver of the Mazda were not injured.
According to the NTSB report, “the truck driver reported that he had been traveling in the right-hand lane and that, just prior to the accident, he had turned his attention to the driver-side mirror due to lights and sounds behind him. He said that when he looked forward again, he saw that traffic was stopped, and he attempted to avoid colliding with the Chrysler by moving to the left but could not avoid the collision. Weather conditions were clear and dry, and it was near sunset at the time of the accident. All vehicles involved in the accident were inspected, and no mechanical defects were found.”
Lavasz was driving for Bulk Carriers PEI Limited. He emigrated from Hungary to Canada as part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker pilot project.
“After the accident, the barrier remained intact and in place on the bridge deck. The NTSB investigated an accident that occurred on August 10, 2008, in which a truck-tractor semitrailer combination vehicle struck and dislodged a concrete barrier in a beam span portion of the eastbound span of the bridge. In that case, the combination vehicle and a 12-foot section of barrier fell into the Chesapeake Bay, and the truck driver was fatally injured. After the 2008 accident, the concrete barriers in the beam span portions of the eastbound span were upgraded to TL-4 barriers. The July 2013 and August 2008 accidents are the only known instances in which vehicles have fallen from the bridge into the water,” the NTSB reported.