Car, Truck Collide Head-On On Route 1 in Md., Killing 4

By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It was a routine morning for truck driver Stanley Wells. He and his helper loaded up their truck and pulled out of the headquarters of their employer, a beverage distributor, about halfway between Washington and Baltimore. They didn't get far.

Three blocks away, police said, on Route 1 in eastern Howard County, a car headed in the opposite direction suddenly swerved across the double-yellow line and into the truck's path. The Nissan Altima was carrying five people.

The collision that followed, about 7:30 a.m. yesterday, was so violent that the front end of the mid-size car was demolished. Four people were killed, including an infant. The truck's hood also was damaged.

Later, waiting outside a hospital where he was treated for minor injuries, the shaken truck driver said: "It's like I'm still walking in a dream, and I haven't woken up, and I just want somebody to wake me up."

The 54-year-old Baltimore resident was walking with a slight limp and still wearing his work clothes -- blue shorts and a T-shirt bearing his employer's logo.

"I've been through a lot in life," he said, "and I believe even now, in a situation like this, God has a plan." He declined to give his name but was later identified by police.

The driver of the 2000 Nissan and three passengers in the car died at the scene.

The surviving passenger, a 4-year-old girl, was flown by helicopter to Johns Hopkins Children's Center in critical condition, police said.

It took rescue workers two hours to cut through the wreckage to reach the victims, authorities said.

"The only way we could even tell what kind of car it was was by the insignia on the trunk," said Bill Mould, a spokesman for the county fire department.

Police worked throughout the day to identify the victims and contact their relatives. The victims' names were not expected to be released until today.

The driver, a man who appeared to be in his 30s, was from out of state, police said. The passengers -- all female -- were related to one another and were thought to be from Laurel, police said. One appeared to be in her 40s; another seemed to be in her 20s; and the baby, a girl riding in a child-safety seat, was thought to be younger than 1.

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