Two people were killed yesterday morning as they were checking the trailer hitch of a truck stopped in the fast lane of the Severn River Bridge outside Annapolis, state police said.
Investigators said that a 25-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, both of Crownsville, were killed when a pickup smashed into the trailer of their truck and pinned them in the wreckage.
The police closed the eastbound lanes of the one-mile bridge for two hours after the 9:35 a.m. accident, and traffic backed up for several miles in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 50.
The accident happened when a 1988 GMC truck towing a trailer stopped in the fast lane about a quarter mile onto the bridge, state police said.
"It was broken down, and the people outside were checking it," said state police Sgt. Kevin Lambert.
Sergeant Lambert said Max A. Briceno, 25, of the 500 block of Palisades Boulevard in Crownsville was standing between the trailer and his truck and appeared to be examining the trailer hitch when a pickup driven by Everett Eugene Peyton, 27, of the 5900 block of Woodland Drive in Oxon Hill smashed into the back of the trailer.
Mr. Briceno was pinned between the truck and the trailer, which was carrying lawn equipment. A woman who was traveling with Mr. Briceno, Cheryl Elizabeth Sincham, 23, of the 1000 block of Docker Drive in Crownsville, was standing to the left of trailer and was also pinned in the wreckage and killed, Sergeant Lambert said.
Ms. Sincham and Mr. Briceno were pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Mr. Peyton was taken by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was in serious but stable condition.
A third vehicle, a Honda Accord driven by Priscilla Lyons, 64, of White Stone, Va., also hit the trailer when it was forced into the middle lane. Sergeant Lambert said Ms. Lyons was not seriously injured and was treated and released from Anne Arundel Medical Center.
The police said the cause of the accident has not been determined.
The accident forced traffic to detour to alternate routes, which caused massive traffic jams in Annapolis.
"They were all backed up for an hour and a half. It was near gridlock and total confusion," said Officer Dermott Hickey, a spokesman for the Annapolis police.