Nurse at Mercy charged after bus crash at hospital

Woman is accused of leaving accident scene

July 23, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A nurse at Mercy Medical Center was charged yesterday with fleeing an accident and other traffic violations after Baltimore police said she cut off an MTA bus, forcing its driver to swerve into two parked cars and plow into the hospital facade.

Two bystanders, Lisa Harris and Karen Rayfield, said they ran after the 1985 Toyota Camry as its driver sped away from the accident at Calvert and Saratoga streets and into the hospital's parking garage a half-block away.

The Camry collided with the bus, damaging the car's left front fender, police said.

"We got to her in the garage, and she said she would call police," said Harris, 27, after the accident at 8: 45 a.m. "I told her there were plenty of police outside. I told her she needed to go back and apologize to the bus driver."

Baltimore Officer Wayne A. Early said the witnesses later saw the woman looking out a hospital window and pointed her out to police. The officer said the driver then called 911 to say she had been involved.

"She just went to her job," Early said.

The unidentified Mass Transit Administration bus driver was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital for minor injuries.

Police closed North Calvert Street for about an hour from 9: 30 a.m. -- causing a traffic jam that backed up several downtown streets -- as they examined the wreckage and towed the bus.

Police said they issued three traffic citations to Maureen Ann Lehane of Towson, charging her with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, failure to display her license and registration and negligent driving.

A court date has not been set. Early said the charge of leaving an accident scene carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. Lehane, who works as a temporary agency nurse in Mercy's pediatric unit, did not return calls seeking comment.

Gary Michael, vice president of marketing for Mercy, said he was told Lehane drove into the garage "and immediately called police." He said the impact of the bus put a dent in the side of the hospital building and cracked drywall.

He said the employee who has an office on the other side of the wall that was hit "thought the bus was coming through" because the impact was so strong.

One of the parked cars that was hit had minor damage.

The other, a red Hyundai, was sent into a spin and over a small tree. It ended up on the sidewalk, facing the wrong way, its right side crushed. The owner, Nathan Young, 35, had just taken his wife into the emergency room.

"It's just a car," he said. "I can always get another one."

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