3 killed in crash on Bay Bridge Driver, mother, son die when disabled car is rammed by semi rig

November 21, 1996|By Scott Wilson | Scott Wilson,SUN STAFF

An 18-wheel truck smashed into the back of a stalled sedan on the Bay Bridge yesterday, pushed the car more than 100 feet and killing the driver and his two passengers, a mother and her 10-year-old son.

The accident, which occurred at 9:32 a.m., forced police to close the bridge's westbound span for three hours. Police used eastbound lanes for two-way traffic until they cleared the scene of shattered glass and debris.

According to the Maryland Transportation Authority, Michael Leslie Cager of Severna Park was westbound on the 4-mile-long Bay Bridge when the 1985 Ford LTD II he was driving lost power about a mile from the Eastern Shore. In the blue Ford with Cager, 45, were Mary Elaine Burke, a 42-year-old Chester resident, and her son, Donnell.

As the car lost speed, a Warrior Express Trucking Co. tractor-trailer plowed into the back of it.

"The truck dragged it several hundred feet," said Kerry Brandt, a transportation authority spokeswoman. "It was pretty bad at the scene."

The car's occupants were pronounced dead at the scene by Cape St. Claire Fire Department paramedics. The truck driver, Kevin Eugene Hinshaw of Carver, Mass., was not injured. Hinshaw, 33, was on his way to Alexandria, Va., with a load of shoes and boots.

Brandt said Maryland Transportation Authority Police questioned Hinshaw for several hours and released him late yesterday afternoon.

"There was no indication of any substance or alcohol abuse," she said, adding that a decision on whether to charge Hinshaw would be made by the Queen Anne's County state's attorney this morning.

Gordon Cager said his brother, Michael, was unemployed. He was one of eight children and lived most of his life in Severna Park.

Boy was home-schooled

Mary Elaine Burke, who went by her middle name, was a housewife educating her son at home.

Donnell, who would ride his bike for hours, was enrolled at Bayside Elementary School before his mother began teaching him herself, a family friend said.

'Like an angel'

Burke spent most of her life in Chester and Stevensville, where her mother, Peggy Hines, lives. Her favorite pastime was singing in the choir of Ezion Methodist Church.

"She was a wonderful, soft-spoken person," said Vivian Barnes, a friend who sang in the choir with Burke. "She sounded like an angel."

Aubrey Haznar, public relations director of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, said Hinshaw has received three minor traffic tickets since obtaining his driver's license in 1989.

Two were for speeding and the third for driving unregistered or improper equipment.

"Other than that, it's pretty clean," Haznar said.

Additional licenses

Hinshaw has been issued two more licenses since 1992, allowing him to drive commercial trucks. He received his Class A license, which permits him to drive the largest tractor-trailers, in 1993.

Pub Date: 11/21/96

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