Man killed when thrown from truck Pickup hits fire engine on I-83 emergency call

November 08, 1997|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

A Pennsylvania man died yesterday when he was thrown from a pickup truck in a bizarre morning accident involving a fire engine and ambulance that were answering a 911 call on Interstate 83 in Hunt Valley.

The pickup slammed into the back of the parked Baltimore County fire engine. Then, before horrified witnesses, the man was thrown from the truck bed and caromed off the ambulance before landing on the highway.

The firetruck and the ambulance had stopped in the left lane of the northbound lanes because of a minor accident that had occurred moments earlier. Fire officials said it was proper procedure to stop the emergency equipment on the road.

Witnesses said the driver of the pickup was driving recklessly on the highway, which was slick from a driving rain, said Sgt. Laura Lu Herman, a state police spokeswoman. Investigators were reconstructing the crash yesterday to determine whether any charges would be filed, she said.

Dead at the scene was David Mark Graves, 30, of Wellsboro, Pa., police said.

The driver and another passenger in the pickup, who are also from Pennsylvania, were injured in the accident just north of Shawan Road. A firefighter from the Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company was treated for minor injuries, authorities said.

Counseling was offered to volunteers from the Cockeysville station, who "saw a very horrific sight," said Battalion Chief Mark Hubbard, spokesman for the Baltimore County Fire Department. This person literally flew by them."

The chain of events began about 10: 30 a.m., when a man driving south on I-83 lost control of his car and crashed into a guardrail in the median strip. A passing motorist called 911 to report the accident, adding that the driver appeared to be unconscious.

Medics from the Cockeysville station arrived within minutes and, because the guardrail prevented them from reaching the southbound lanes, stopped on the northbound side. Because the shoulder is narrow and the heavy fire engine probably would have sunk into the muddy ground, the emergency vehicles stopped on the highway, fire officials said.

Following department policy, the fire engine parked behind the ambulance to protect it from traffic, Hubbard said.

The driver in the first accident, Hugene Fields, 41, of Bowie told paramedics he was uninjured. As traffic slowed in the northbound lanes, a 1996 Nissan pickup came over the crest of a hill. Attempting to avoid the slowing traffic, the pickup's driver veered to the right, sideswiping a tractor-trailer, authorities said.

Adolphus Hyson, who was driving the tractor-trailer, said the pickup bounced off his rig and slid sideways into the back of the fire engine. The cap covering the bed of the pickup flew off, he said.

"Then I saw the guy's body come out," Hyson said. The truck driver nearly broke into tears as he recalled how Graves hurtled past.

After hitting the side of the ambulance, Graves came to rest in the highway about 100 feet from the pickup.

Graves apparently was not breaking the law by riding in the enclosed bed of the pickup.

Police temporarily closed the northbound lanes of the interstate and diverted traffic to York Road, where traffic was backed up to just north of Warren Road.

A passenger in the pickup, David M. Cadey, 19, of Westfield, Pa., was in critical condition at Sinai Hospital, police said. The driver, Colin H. Graves of Little Marsh, Pa., a cousin of the dead man, was in stable condition at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Firefighter Brian Roberts, 23, of Cockeysville was treated for a minor back injury and released, Hubbard said.

Pub Date: 11/08/97

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