3 are killed in accident on I-95 near Aberdeen

Harford County vehicle involved

traffic snarled for several hours


News from around the Baltimore region

April 28, 2005|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

An early morning accident involving a Harford County-owned van and a tractor-trailer truck on southbound Interstate 95 near the Maryland House Welcome Center in Aberdeen left three people dead yesterday and snarled traffic throughout the rush hour.

The victims were on their way to a kidney dialysis center in Abingdon in a Harford Transit van when the van rammed into the back of a tractor-trailer that had slowed for another vehicle, according to a police report.

The victims were identified as Bonnie J. Hurlbut, 53, of the 100 block of E. Red Hill Road, Conowingo; Damon Brown, 52, of the 100 block of Stansbury Court, Havre de Grace; and Ralph Biggs, 57, of the 100 block of George St., Havre de Grace.

A fourth person in the van, identified as Benjamin F. Gilmore, 70, of the 100 block of Hamilton Place in Aberdeen, was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, according to police.

The hospital reported that Gilmore was in critical condition yesterday evening.

Hurlbut, the van driver, had worked for the county since December 2000. Her body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for an autopsy.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Ahmad Shivwdayal, 51, of Newark, N.J., was not injured in the crash. The truck is owned by Golden Eagle Trucking of South Kearney, N.J., and was transporting a load of refuse to a facility in Lawrenceville, Va.

Based on a preliminary investigation, state police report that the driver of a 1993 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was traveling south about 5:45 a.m. on the interstate in the right lane. The driver slowed when he came upon a slower-moving vehicle traveling in the same lane.

Hurlbut, who was operating a 1999 Dodge van, also in the right lane, apparently failed to recognize that the vehicle ahead of it had slowed down, and rear-ended the tractor-trailer, police said.

County Executive James M. Harkins, who was briefed at the scene, said, "It was a very tragic day" in an e-mail to county workers.

Hurlbut was the single mother of a 13-year-old son, according to a neighbor.

Brown, a Navy veteran and retired laborer, lived with his wife of 16 years, Vivian Brown.

"I think his [4-year- old] grandson will miss him the most," Vivian Brown said. "They were just two peas in a pod."

Brown and Biggs were close, she said. "They were the best of friends, and they died together," she said.

The county provides transportation for senior and disabled residents to medical facilities in the county, said Merrie Street, a county spokeswoman.

Traffic on southbound I-95 was detoured at Route 22 for a brief period, according to police. The left lane was reopened shortly after the crash to reduce the backup, which extended several miles. I-95 was not completely reopened until about 10 a.m.

Sun staff writer Josh Mitchell contributed to this article.

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