Driver unaware of fatal accident, says attorney

Man said to learn of crash on Rte. 295 through news

April 08, 2005|By Anica Butler | Anica Butler,SUN STAFF

The man who was driving a cement mixer that killed one man and injured another on Route 295 Tuesday was not aware that he hit anyone until he saw the accident on the news, his attorney said yesterday.

"When he came to me, he was visibly upset, he was crying and he was completely bewildered," said Baltimore attorney Michael A. Mastracci.

According to Mastracci, Richard Anthony Schulman, 45, was driving a cement truck north on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near the Patapsco River on Tuesday when, about 2:30 p.m., he struck two men who were standing near a disabled Goodwill Industries truck.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions incorrectly identified the occupations of the Goodwill Industries employees who were hit by a cement truck on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway on Tuesday. According to Goodwill warehouse supervisor George Johnson and state police, Robert Errol Johnson Sr., 44, who was killed in the accident, was a truck driver assistant. Robert L. Howard, 52, was the driver of the truck, which had broken down on the highway near the Patapsco River where the two men were standing when they were hit.

Schulman, who has not been charged in the case, could not be reached for comment.

Robert Errol Johnson Sr., 44, the driver of the Goodwill truck, was killed. Robert L. Howard, 52, was taken by ambulance to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He was in fair condition yesterday, according to the hospital.

Witnesses to the accident said that a white cement mixer struck the two men and that afterward the vehicle stopped several yards from the scene, then backed up before continuing north, a state police spokesman said.

Mastracci would not comment yesterday on why Schulman would have stopped and backed up, saying that Schulman had not yet given a formal statement to police.

State police investigators found the cement mixer at a LaFarge North America facility in Jessup late Tuesday. As of Tuesday, Schulman had been an employee at LaFarge, a cement company, Mastracci said, but he would not give any further details about Schulman's employment there. Attempts to reach LaFarge officials were unsuccessful.

After learning of the fatal accident on the news, Schulman did not contact the police, Mastracci said. The lawyer said he was retained by Schulman on Wednesday morning.

Mastracci contends that Schulman, who he says is shaken up, is not at fault.

"All the evidence seems to support the fact that Mr. Schulman was driving at a safe speed and that he was completely in his lane of travel when the victims stepped into the roadway," Mastracci said, adding that Schulman has been a professional driver for 25 years and has never before been in an accident.

Sgt. Thornnie Rouse, a state police spokesman, said that police are not yet releasing the name of the cement truck driver, and could not comment on the investigation. It will be up to the Anne Arundel state's attorney's office to decide whether charges will be brought against the driver, Rouse said.

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