CRIME

Truck Driver In Chesapeake Bay Bridge Crash That Sent Car Plunging Into Water Pleads Guilty

11/05/2013 05:33 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014
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The truck driver who crashed into two vehicles on the Bay Bridge last summer, sending one into the water, pleaded guilty to four charges last month in Anne Arundel County District Court.

Gabor Lovasz, 30, of Charlottetown in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, pleaded guilty Oct. 18 to negligent driving, unsafe lane changing, failure to control vehicle speed to avoid a collision, and driving in excess of a reasonable and prudent speed. His fines totaled $450.

Lovasz, a native of Hungary, was working in Canada as part of a temporary foreign worker program and was on his first solo trip to the United States at the time of the crash.

In a report released in late August, Maryland Transportation Authority police said distracted driving caused the three-vehicle crash July 19 on the eastbound span of the bridge.

The report mirrored a report released Aug. 19 by the National Transportation Safety Board, which said Lovasz told investigators he was distracted by flashing headlights in his side-view mirror. When Lovasz looked ahead, he noticed the vehicles in front of him coming to a stop.

Lovasz attempted to steer the tractor-trailer to the left to avoid the vehicles ahead, but struck the left rear of a Chrysler driven by 23-year-old Morgan Lake of Calvert County, pushing it up onto the barrier wall.

A second impact from the tractor-trailer pushed the Chrysler over the wall, and it plunged about 27 feet into the shallow waters of the bay, according to the report. Lake swam to safety and was treated for minor injuries.

A Mazda driven by a Montgomery County couple also was struck during the crash, though neither of the two were injured.

The investigation revealed the Chrysler had slowed to about 4 mph when it was hit by the tractor-trailer.

Investigators believe the tractor-trailer was traveling between 47 and 51 mph just before the crash.

Vehicle inspections by the Maryland State Police Automotive Safety Enforcement Division and MdTA Police Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit found no mechanical defects at the time of the crash.

According to the MdTA police report, the accident was the second this year in which a vehicle was pushed on top of the Bay Bridge barrier.

After a two-vehicle crash on April 13 at the same location, one vehicle came to rest on top of the 34-inch barrier wall, the report said.

There were no injuries and no structural damage to the bridge in the April crash. No structural damage resulted from July crash either, MdTA engineers said. ___

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