A string of accidents on a slick, hilly stretch of Belair Road in Baltimore County had family and community members yesterday blaming the dangerous road for the recent death of a 16-year-old Kingsville boy.
"I'm going to start writing the governor, congressmen, delegates and senators," said Brian Traut, uncle of Nikolaus Bach Traut, who died in an accident Saturday. "I'm going to start writing everybody because I mean, how many more people have to die on that road before something is done?"
Fred Traut, the boy's father, added, "I had a nephew who got hit and a friend whose son got hit there in that stretch of road. I've gone through that area before and you try to put your brakes on and you hydroplane. Someone's got to do something about it."
Baltimore County police say that since January of last year, 37 accidents have occurred on the stretch of Belair Road just south of Sunshine Avenue to the Harford County line.
Among those accidents, only four were classified as serious-injury accidents in which victims had to be taken out by stretcher, said Officer Robert Deale of the traffic resources unit.
In fact, Saturday's accident was the first fatality in two years, Officer Deale said. Also, officers have handed out 1,200 citations or warnings this year to drivers along that stretch of road, he said.
"That upper stretch is a very wide, open road," Officer Deale said, noting that it is used by many commuters and has a high posted speed limit -- 50 mph. "When you take into consideration all of that and then the fact that this is the first fatal in two years, it's not a really bad record."
Saturday's accident yielded conflicting reports from witnesses, police said. Some said the young boy was trying to make a left turn on Belair Road, near New Cut Road. Others say he lost control of his vehicle and fishtailed.
After his Nissan pickup truck crossed the center line, it was struck by a Chevrolet Geo and a Dodge Aries driving in the opposite direction. People who arrived on the scene said that the truck landed in the parking lot of the Little Falls Tavern.
Nikolaus Traut was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:27 p.m. The occupants of the Geo were taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Police said the accident was caused by driver error. How fast the teen was driving could not be determined because no skid marks were found on the wet road.