Man in car hit by trailer hitch had heart attack

May 26, 1994|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

A state medical examiner's autopsy report yesterday confirmed that a 71-year-old Fort Washington man who was killed in an accident on I-95 in Savage Friday afternoon suffered a heart attack when a trailer hitch crashed through his windshield.

Meanwhile, state police investigators reviewing the death of Richard Arthur Bauer, of the 9500 block of Potomac Drive, say that the 10-pound chunk of metal debris smashed through the victim's windshield after being struck by another vehicle.

Mr. Bauer died when his southbound vehicle careened off the roadway, crossed the median and struck a vehicle in the northbound lane, said Mike McKelvin, a state police spokesman. The other driver, Janice Elaine Owens of Kensington, was listed in fair condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore yesterday.

Investigators initially had theorized that the trailer hitch -- shaped like a horseshoe -- was intentionally thrown from the Vollmerhausen Road overpass just above the accident scene.

But two witnesses driving in the lane next to Mr. Bauer that afternoon, one in a truck and one in a car, told state police they saw the hitch being tossed about by other vehicles, although they did not see it hit Mr. Bauer's car.

The accident took place at about 3:30 p.m. Friday, when Mr. Bauer was driving south in the left lane of I-95 near Route 32 toward his Prince George's County home. Police said the trailer hitch hit the hood of his black Buick, then flew through the windshield.

Although Mr. Bauer was not hit, he suffered a heart attack and apparently was unable to take his foot off of the gas pedal, according to state police. His car crossed over a grassy median and ran head-on into the northbound Nissan driven by Ms. Owens. Mr. Bauer was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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