Three killed in truck collision

Bel Air man lost control of pickup on U.S. 1 in Harford County

Two injured in head-on crash

Officials say speed contributed to accident

October 27, 2003|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

Three people were killed early yesterday and two others injured when a Bel Air man lost control of a pickup truck he was driving on a curve along U.S. 1 in northern Harford County and crashed head-on into a box truck carrying four people, state police said.

Pronounced dead after the collision at 4 a.m. were Matthew R. Caine, 26, driver of the 2003 GMC Sonoma pickup truck, and two passengers in the 1994 Ford box truck -- Naomi D. Gizzi, 55, and Janet Hardy, 14 -- both of Conowingo. Janet was the daughter of a state trooper at the North East barracks, police said,

The driver of the Ford truck, Leo Gizzi Jr., 64, husband of Naomi Gizzi, was listed in guarded condition last night at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Also injured was the couple's granddaughter, Samantha Nesbitt, 14, of Conowingo, a close friend of Janet's. Police said she was treated at Harford Memorial Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.

As they investigated the crash yesterday, police said that an early-morning mist had left the crash site at U.S. 1 and Dublin Road damp but that speed appeared to be a contributing factor in the accident. Caine was driving faster than the posted 50-mph limit on U.S. 1 when he crossed the center line and crashed, according to authorities.

None of the vehicles' occupants wore seat belts at the time of the crash, police said.

Thomas E. Caine Sr. said last night that his son Matthew had been following a close friend to her house when the accident occurred. The friend told him that she had made it to her driveway, expecting Matthew to pull up behind her, but minutes later heard sirens, he said.

He said that his son, one of three in the family, was an outgoing all-county football player and 1995 graduate of Havre de Grace High School, and had recently begun work as a car salesman at a local dealership.

"It's very unfortunate that this happened and that other people have lost their lives as well," said Caine, who recently retired from his job at Aberdeen Proving Ground and lives in Havre de Grace with his wife, Brenda. Matthew "was not a speedster. We just don't know what happened."

Driving a truck loaded with apples and tomatoes, Leo and Naomi Gizzi were on their way to the weekly farmers' market in Baltimore with their granddaughter, who had invited Janet, Leo's brother, Ralph Gizzi, said last night. The Sunday market trip was routine for the family, said Gizzi, who has operated Conowingo Orchard with his brother since about 1975.

Authorities have not blamed his brother for the accident, but Gizzi said his brother feels responsible.

"His wife is gone, his granddaughter is hurt and [Janet] is dead," he said. "It's devastating. I don't know how my brother is going to come out of it."

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