Tractor-trailer crash sends car off Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The events of the evening of July 19 made Morgan Lake a household name. She is the Maryland woman whose vehicle plunged off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, after being rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. Images of Lake swimming to safety appeared on news programs and websites and prompted safety officials to discuss the bridge's design. The incident also generated discussions about drivers' fear of the bridge which connects mainland Maryland and the Eastern Shore. For many, news of the crash reminded them of how quickly a dangerous truck accident can occur and caused them to wonder if they would have been able to survive in a similar situation.

The events on the bridge

What happened on the bridge that night is still being pieced together by investigators who have inspected the crash site and the wrecked vehicles. The crash involved two cars and a tractor-trailer operating out of Prince Edward Island, Canada. At this point in the investigation, it is known that Lake was not at fault in the accident. No charges have been filed against the truck driver. If charges are filed, it will not be until after the investigation is complete, which could take weeks. The state deputy transportation secretary told a reporter from the Baltimore Sun that he expected the state will eventually pursue charges in connection with the event.

In an interview with Lake posted on SoMdNews.com, she described what she recalled from before the truck made impact with her vehicle. According to Lake, eastbound traffic was stopped on the bridge when she looked in her rearview mirror and saw a tractor-trailer coming toward her; it did not appear to be slowing down. When the truck made contact with her vehicle, the car went up on two wheels and slid along the Jersey wall before dropping 27 feet down into the water. The force of the impact from the collision caused the airbags to deploy. In addition, the windshield and window glass broke.

Lake was able to exit the vehicle once it was in the water by swimming out through the passenger side window. When she surfaced, she swam toward a rock piling beneath the bridge, where a passing boater came to her aid. A Medevac transported her to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where she was treated and subsequently released on the next day. Neither the tractor-trailer driver nor the occupants of the other vehicle involved in the wreck were injured.

Documents from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that the company for which the truck driver worked had a fairly clean safety record. The company had received citations for some vehicle violations, and some drivers were issued citations for driving more hours than permitted by federal regulations. However, the number of trucks and drivers taken out of service after inspections during the past two years was far below that which is normal for the trucking industry. The continuing investigation should establish why the truck driver ran into Morgan Lake's car, but at present the cause of the accident is still conjecture.

Tractor-trailer accidents

Although this event was undoubtedly frightening for all involved, the drivers and passengers in this crash were fortunate that there were no fatalities. If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer crash and suffered injuries, a personal injury attorney can assist you as you seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. There is a time limit when filing a claim for personal injury, so it is advisable to contact a lawyer soon after the accident.