Beltway Crash That Killed Construction Workers From Glen Burnie, Laurel Heading To Trial


Lisa Adrienne Lea and Melachi Brown will head to trial on Dec. 18. Both were charged with manslaughter in a March 22 crash on I-695 that killed six construction workers, WBAL reported. The crash scene is pictured above. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

BALTIMORE, MD — A trial date has been set for two drivers charged in connection with their roles in a crash on the Baltimore Beltway that killed six highway workers, according to a report.

Lisa Adrienne Lea, 54, of Randallstown, and Melachi Brown, 20, of Baltimore, will stand trial on Dec. 18 after both were charged with manslaughter and other counts related to the March 22 crash, WBAL reported.

Both were indicted and arrested in June, authorities said.

Before the crash, Lea was driving a 2017 Acura on the I-695 inner loop near Interstate 70 when she attempted to change lanes, according to police. As she did, police said her vehicle hit the front corner panel of a Volkswagen driven by Brown. The impact caused Lea to lose control of the car before crashing into the work zone, police said.

According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Acura passed through an opening in the concrete barriers separating the work zone from the highway travel lanes. As the car traveled through the work zone, it struck miscellaneous construction materials and the workers, overturning before it stopped.

Emergency personnel pronounced six workers dead on the scene, police said.

Those killed in the crash were:

  • Rolando Ruiz, 46, of Laurel.
  • Carlos Orlando Villatoro Escobar, 43, of Frederick.
  • Jose Armando Escobar, 52, of Frederick.
  • Mahlon Simmons III, 31, of Union Bridge.
  • Mahlon Simmons II, 52, of Union Bridge.
  • Sybil Lee Dimaggio, 46, of Glen Burnie.

Lea was taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Center for treatment, according to authorities. Police said Brown stopped his car north of the scene on I-695, where it became disabled. He was not injured.

The NTSB said speed likely contributed to the crash. The posted speed limit in the work area was 55 mph, the report said.

The Baltimore Banner obtained video of the crash, which show both cars speeding when one moved into the far-left lane, hit the other vehicle, lost control and flipped into the construction zone.

Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger indicted Lea on 28 counts, including a charge claiming she was driving while under the influence of drugs.

Prosecutors said Lea had marijuana and five prescription medications in her system at the time of the crash, according to a Baltimore Banner report. Prosecutors also said she was traveling at 121 mph and weaving in and out of traffic shortly before the collision.

Brown reportedly was driving more than 120 mph before the crash, according to WBAL. He was also indicted on 28 charges, including six counts of felony negligent manslaughter by vehicle and six counts of death of a vulnerable person, according to police.

Editor's Note: Patch reporter Megan VerHelst originally wrote this story for the Catonsville Patch. Patch reporter Jacob Baumgart adapted it for the Glen Burnie and Odenton Patches.

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