Severn Woman Killed In Head-On Route 50 Crash
Two people died Wednesday in a head-on crash on Route 50 near the Bay Bridge, authorities say. Alcohol was found in a Severn woman's car.
By Deb Belt (Patch National Staff) - Updated July 26, 2017 4:27 pm ET
ANNAPOLIS, MD — A Severn woman was one of two people who died early Wednesday morning in a head-on crash on Route 50 near the Bay Bridge in Annapolis, authorities say. All westbound lanes of the highway were closed for five hours as the crash was investigated, but traffic is now moving through the area.
Alcohol use by one of the drivers may have played a role in the crash, authorities said. WJZ reports that alcoholic beverage containers were found in the Severn driver's vehicle.
Maryland State Police say troopers from the Annapolis Barrack were on their way to Route 50 at the Severn River Bridge about 2 a.m. after authorities received a call that reported a vehicle was eastbound in the westbound lanes of Route 50. Moments later, a trooper in the area came upon a crash scene at westbound Route 50 and Bay Dale Drive. Three vehicles were involved in the crash.
The drivers killed are Christine Parks, 31, of Severn and Hui Xu, 34, of Herndon, Virginia, WJZ reports. Authorities say the vehicle driven by Parks was eastbound in the left lane of westbound Route 50, and struck the vehicle driven by Xu head-on. The impact caused Xu’s 2002 Honda Civic to spin into the middle lane, where it was struck by a 2014 Toyota Avalon. The driver and passenger of the Avalon, a 21-year-old man and woman from California, were both were taken to Anne Arundel County Medical Center, where they were treated and released.
All lanes of westbound Route 50 were closed as area fire and rescue units responded. There were no passengers in the vehicles driven by Parks and Xu, state police say.
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration personnel detoured westbound traffic at Cape St. Clair Road while the highway was closed.
The cause of the crash has not been confirmed at this time.
This is a drunk-related crash. Most of these crashes occur in the early a.m. hours, like this one.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
By daybreak, you could see the crushed wreckage of the cars after the head-on crash on Route 50 near Bay Dale Drive, and moments before impact, about two in the morning, at least five people called 911 reporting the vehicle, which had been traveling the wrong way.
"A car just came at me about 100 miles per hour going the wrong way on Route 50," said one motorist who narrowly avoided the oncoming car.
But seconds later, a head-on crash left this caller who had stopped on the other side of the highway to describe its aftermath.
"The car is smoking,” said the female caller. “I don't think it's on fire. It looks like he hit the Jersey wall I think and maybe another vehicle. Oh my God! I'd get somebody out here quick."
Maryland State Police shut down the westbound lanes of the highway as rescue workers attempted to pry the victims from the wreckage. The second such wrong-way accident within a half mile of each other on this same stretch of the highway.
"It appears the driver of a 2002 Hyundai Accent identified as Christine Parks of Severn was headed eastbound in the westbound lanes and as she was traveling in the left lane of the westbound lanes, she struck another vehicle head-on," said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police.
Investigators say 34-year-old Hui Xu of Herndon, Virginia also died in the crash.
As his Honda Civic spun into the middle of the highway, a third vehicle carrying two people from California crashed into it, but they walked away with minor injuries.
"The cause of the crash has not been positively identified, but investigators have not ruled out the involvement of alcohol in this crash,” said Shipley. “There were bottles of alcoholic beverages found in the vehicle."
Following a double fatal crash in May on the eastbound side of Route 50, the State Highway Administration reviewed the signage, lane markings and lighting, but found no contributing factors.
We're told they will conduct a similar review in the aftermath of this incident.
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — All lanes of westbound Route 50 at Bay Dale Drive were closed for several hours early Wednesday morning after two people were killed in a three vehicle crash.
The drivers of the two cars that collided head-on, 31-year-old Christine Parks of Severn and 34-year-old Hui Xu of Herndon, Virginia, were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Two cars mangled and two people killed, the aftermath of yet another wrong way crash along Route 50. It’s the second time this month, and the third time in recent weeks.
Maryland State Police say troopers from the Annapolis Barrack were dispatched to Route 50 at the Severn River Bridge around 2 a.m., after a call came in reporting a vehicle traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes.
Moments later, a trooper in the area came upon a crash scene at westbound Route 50 and Bay Dale Drive. The vehicles involved were a 2002 Hyundai Accent driven by Parks, a 2002 Honda Civic driven by Xu and a 2014 Toyota Avalon.
The preliminary investigation by the Maryland State Police Crash Team indicates the vehicle driven by Parks was traveling eastbound in the left lane of westbound Route 50.
Parks struck the vehicle driven by Xu head-on, causing Xu’s vehicle to rotate into the middle lane, where it was struck by the Toyota Avalon.
The driver and passenger of the Avalon, a 21-year-old man and woman from California, were both transported to the Anne Arundel County Medical Center where they were treated and released.
Investigators are trying to figure out why Parks was driving the wrong way, and where she got on Route 50.
The cause and contributing factors of the crash have not been determined, but alcohol has not been ruled out as a factor.
Alcoholic beverage containers were found in Parks’ vehicle. Speed is not believed to be a factor at this time.
Deaths mount in wrong-way crashes near Annapolis
Five people have died in three wrong-way accidents on the Route 50 corridor in Anne Arundel County since May, with the latest double-fatality coming Wednesday at Bay Dale Drive near Annapolis. The Capital toured intersections on the corridor Wednesday to look for anything obvious that might confuse a motorist who was distracted, disabled, under the influence or unfamiliar with the area. Here’s what we found...
For the third time since May, a driver managed to get onto a major expressway near Annapolis headed in the wrong direction, drive for some distance and then collide with an oncoming car.
Two people were killed Wednesday in the latest wrong-way crash on Route 50, bringing the number of such fatalities to five in just over two months.
Maryland State Police said Christine Parks, 31, of Severn, and Hui Xu, 34, of Herndon, Virginia, were pronounced dead at the scene following a three-car crash on Route 50 near Bay Dale Drive.
A preliminary investigation shows that Parks was traveling east in the westbound lanes of Route 50. She was spotted near the Severn River Bridge at about 2 a.m.
Two people were killed in an apparent wrong-way crash on Route 50 and police say one of the victims was found with alcohol in her car. Maryland State Police said Christine Parks, 31, of Severn and Hui Xu,, 34, of Virginia, were pronounced dead at the scene after Parks crashed her 2002 Hyundia Accent head-on with Xu's 2002 Honda Civic near Bay Dale Drive.
A driver and passenger in the third car — Alexander Kwon and Janet Kim, both 21-year-olds from California — were also injured. They were taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center and released, police said.
How is this happening? Is it the drivers? Is it the road?
Investigators have been unable to say why any of the crashes occurred, but have made progress in explaining how.
In the July 8 death of Joseph Chisarick, 24, of Rockville, police said Wednesday he was under the influence of alcohol when he died on Interstate 97 just north of the Route 50 interchange.
In the case of Laura Ashley Murphy, 22, of Salisbury, state highway officials said engineers studying the crash have determined the spot where she entered the highway in May was adequately marked.
Investigators are focusing on alcohol as a possible factor in the death of Parks. Police said she drove an undetermined distance the wrong way until she crashed into Xu's vehicle. Investigators found alcohol containers in her car. No tests have shown yet whether she was under the influence.
A 2016 study by the state Motor Vehicle Administration determined that one-third of all fatal crashes in Maryland between 2009 and 2013 involved alcohol.
The same study found that more than "three in every four crashes involving impaired drivers (78.1 percent) occurred in nine Maryland counties plus the city of Baltimore, including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's and Washington counties."
While police say the circumstances surrounding the crashes vary, the investigations so far have not revealed any faults in the exit or entrance ramps on the major highways.
Parks was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Route 50 for an unknown distance. Police don't know where she got onto the highway.
She crashed not far from the spot Murphy died, although on the opposite side of the highway.
Murphy, 22, drove the wrong way up the Busch's Frontage Road exit ramp on May 17, driving westbound on Route 50's eastbound lanes and causing a head-on collision about two miles away.
The crash killed Murphy and a Robert Skidmore, 66, of Cape St. Claire. Murphy's infant son and a Bowie man in a third car survived.
Police said an autopsy found no alcohol or drugs in Murphy's system at the time of the crash.
In the days following the accident, people familiar with the area questioned whether the exit ramp and Busch's Frontage Road were contributing factors.
The two-way road parallels Route 50 and provides access to businesses and at least one residential neighborhood. But it leads oncoming traffic directly to the foot of the ramp. The owner of an auto shop next to the ramp said he regularly sees people driving onto the ramp the wrong way.
Charlie Gischlar, a State Highway Administration spokesman, said Wednesday that traffic engineers have determined the signs and lane markings at the spot are adequate. State officials point to the "Do Not Enter" sign.
Similar signs are common on roads and ramps connecting to Route 50 as it cuts across Anne Arundel County.
But there are spots where, despite the warnings, a driver could turn onto Route 50 the wrong way. The two-lane Baltimore and Annapolis Boulevard ends in a stop sign a few feet from Route 50 west. A few miles away, a gap in the guardrail on Skidmore Road creates a space through which drivers could exit or enter the eastbound lanes.
The Baltimore and Annapolis Boulevard intersection is near the Bay Dale Drive interchange, where police said Wednesday's collision occurred. Parks was spotted driving in the wrong direction by at least one passing motorist who called authorities, but police have not discussed where she was seen.
Police also have not said where Chisarick got onto the highway on July 8. He drove the wrong way on southbound I-97 after exiting Route 50.
State police spokesman Ron Snyder said the autopsy found alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.
Investigators ruled the crash accidental.