HAMPSTEAD -- A 75-year-old Owings Mills driver was killed and her 58-year-old passenger critically injured during rush hour last night when their car traveled into the path of a CSX train in Hampstead, the third fatal train accident along Route 30 in two years.
Virginia Schwartz, who lived on Nobility Court, was killed instantly in the 5 p.m. collision on Route 30 just north of Hampshire Road and south of Route 88. Her passenger, Marguerite Joan Bosley of Pleasant Hill Road in Owings Mills, was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was in critical condition.
Police said Ms. Schwartz was driving south along the busy highway, also known as Hanover Pike, in a four-door Oldsmobile and apparently did not see the flashing red lights that warn motorists of oncoming trains.
"The lights were working, and the train blasted its horn, but she went right through," said Officer Paul Steinmetz, who is on the police force for the town of Hampstead.
"The train comes through here at about the same time every day. Usually, it has several cars. This time, it was only the engine and caboose," the officer said.
Tfc. J. W. Long of the Maryland State Police said the train pushed Ms. Schwartz's vehicle 200 feet before it was able to stop.
The accident disturbed area residents, who said they had seen such crashes all too often.
"Accidents happen there quite a lot," said Frances Parrish, who has lived on Hampshire Road for more than 30 years. "Two years ago, a boy was hit by the train and killed at that same crossing."
With a quivering voice, she added, "I saw the train coming up the hill,but thank God I didn't see the crash."
Farther north on Route 30, a truck driver was killed last year when he crashed into the side of a moving train. The cab of the truck, which was severed from the chassis upon impact, was dragged 150 feet and crushed under the train's wheels.
The driver of the truck, a 35-year-old man from Washington, died soon after the crash, according to officials, but it took rescuers several hours to free his body from the vehicle.
Carroll County officials plan to build a bypass off Route 30 around Hampstead to ease rush-hour traffic jams.
The highway bypass would detour around the town to the west near Wolf Hill Drive and empty back onto Route 30 at Cape Horn Road in Manchester.