Two men killed in accidents on U.S. 50

Driver dies after swerving to avoid runaway wheel

Second victim was a pedestrian

August 22, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A detached truck wheel contributed to a fatal accident early yesterday on U.S. 50 near Interstate 97 when a driver swerved to avoid it and was thrown from his vehicle, Maryland State Police said.

Hours later, an Edgewater man was killed while trying to cross the same stretch of road, police said.

The second accident slowed the morning commute as all three westbound lanes of U.S. 50 were closed for about 90 minutes, police said.

Just after 1 a.m., the wheel and tire flew off a tractor-trailer heading west on U.S. 50 and bounced across the median into eastbound traffic, said Sgt. Gary Klos.

The driver of a Jeep Cherokee, 23-year-old John Michael Lawrence Jr. of Tilghman, swerved to avoid it. But he overcorrected, causing his vehicle to overturn, police said.

Lawrence, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the Jeep and died at the scene, police said.

A friend, passenger Danielle Lynn Lowery, 18, was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said, where she was treated and released yesterday. Lowery had been wearing a seat belt, police said.

"Parts come off quite a bit, and there's not much you can do," Klos said. "Occasionally, a tire will come across the median and actually hit an oncoming vehicle, killing the driver."

The truck driver, who pulled onto the shoulder after the wheel detached, was issued a citation for an equipment violation, said Cpl. Leon Foreman. The man, whose name and employer had not been released, could face additional charges, Foreman said.

About four hours later, on U.S. 50 between Route 424 and I-97, an Edgewater man was killed after he darted into oncoming traffic, police said.

Police said they have not determined why Robert Anthony Mark, 43, ran across the busy highway and away from his vehicle, which was stopped on the inside shoulder of westbound U.S. 50, Klos said.

A Ford F-150 struck the man and sent him into another westbound lane, where a BMW 530 ran him over, killing him instantly, police said.

Charges will probably not be filed in that accident, Klos said. "We do have some theories about why the man was crossing, but we can't say for sure yet," Klos said.

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