Baltimore County prosecutors decided yesterday not to seek charges against the man whose improperly loaded truck toppled a bridge across the Baltimore Beltway in June, killing one person and seriously injuring three others.
The driver, Paul McIntosh, 23, of Ontario, Canada, cannot be charged with criminal negligence in the accident because his driving did nothing to cause the bridge collapse, said Baltimore County prosecutors.
"He was not speeding. There was nothing he was doing to contribute to the accident," said Baltimore County Deputy State's Attorney Howard Merker, who handled the case. "You have to have that sort of negligence. This case doesn't come close."
On June 7, McIntosh was transporting a backhoe with its arm extended more than 17 feet into the air, more than three feet over state limits. It hit a 16-foot-high pedestrian bridge over Interstate 695 near Arbutus. The portion of the bridge above the inner loop instantly crumbled, crushing three cars that were trailing the truck.
Robert N. Taylor, 54, of Baltimore, was killed and three people were seriously hurt. Rush-hour traffic came to standstill.
McIntosh still could be sued by Taylor's survivors or the three others who were hurt. He also may face traffic citations for improperly loading the truck, though they would not lead to any prison time if he were found guilty.
"There is an active discussion on charges. Our investigators will be consulting with prosecutors to see what charges would be appropriate," said David Shipley, spokesman for the Maryland State Police, which is responsible for issuing traffic citations.
State police investigators determined that, besides being three feet higher than permitted, the load was several inches too wide and 400 pounds over state trucking weight limits. The state police investigation concluded that McIntosh did not consciously violate the regulations, however. He followed the loading specifications of the carrier he worked for, TTK Transport Inc., of Goderich, Ontario. It was TTK's specifications that violated Maryland regulations, investigators concluded.
"Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea for whoever runs the Port of Baltimore [where McIntosh loaded his truck] to check trucks as they leave, like a state watchdog," Merker said.