Beltway Crash That Killed Glen Burnie, Laurel Workers Brings Violations For State Agency
Patch reporter Megan VerHelst wrote this story.
BALTIMORE, MD — The Maryland Highway Administration recently was cited for "serious violations" that contributed to a crash on the Baltimore Beltway that killed six highway workers, according to a report.
The citations came in a report issued last month by Maryland Occupational Safety and Health, according to a CBS Baltimore report, which said the agency did not post legible traffic control signs near the work zone where a car plowed into six workers in March.
The report called the violation "serious" and said the decision exposed the highway workers to "struck-by hazards," CBS Baltimore reported.
There were no penalties connected to the citation, the report said.
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 fatal crash.
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.
Police said these workers were pronounced dead on the scene:
- 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.
The NTSB said speed likely contributed to the crash. The posted speed limit in the work area was 55 mph, the report said.
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.
In a statement provided to Patch, a Maryland Highway Administration spokesperson said the signage mentioned in the citation would not have prevented the crash. The spokesperson also said the agency has no plans to appeal or contest the citation.
"The State Highway Administration has been involved in significant efforts to make Maryland work zones safer, including participating in the Governor’s Work Zone Safety Work Group alongside the Department of Labor," the MHA statement read. "The group is working diligently to assess the root causes behind the rise in work zone crashes and will put forth comprehensive recommendations next month to increase enforcement methods, raise awareness of work zone safety, and change driver behavior through education."
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