Maryland Car Accident on I-70 Kills Two; Police Blame Illegal Street Racing

A Baltimore County car crash that left two young people dead and another in critical condition is believed to have been caused by illegal drag racing, authorities report.

Two bystanders were killed and two suffered personal injury last Sunday when one car crashed into another on the westbound side of Interstate 70. Witnesses reported that a crowd had gathered to watch drag racers on the eastbound side of I-70 where the highway abruptly ends. Police had been observing this little-used area of the highway, which is tempting to amateur street racers. Cars parked on the roadside began to leave when they spotted the police cruiser. According to news reports, that’s when a 2009 Chevy Impala struck the rear of a 2004 Chevy Cavalier.

The crash set off a chain reaction and two young bystanders on the shoulder of the road — a woman age 22 and a man age 20 — were struck and killed. A third bystander was struck and treated for serious personal injury and released, and a fourth was in critical condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The stretch of highway where this fatal Maryland accident occurred is the result of a blocked expansion of the interstate into Baltimore city dating back to the 1960s. Maryland State Police and State Highway Administration officials are looking into ways to curb illegal street racing, including the use of video cameras and rumble strips.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ), there is no database of street racing related fatalities at this time. A report for law enforcement published by the DOJ (see link below) notes that illegal drag racing has been depicted in films for years, including Rebel Without a Cause, American Graffiti, and Grease, and most recently in The Fast and the Furious. Identifying drag racing locations — such as this site in Baltimore County, Maryland where young lives of pedestrian bystanders were lost — is among the steps the DOJ recommends for police and highway authorities who seek to curb illegal street racing in their states and communities.

Md. police look to deter racing after deadly crash
Examiner.com June 22, 2009
Related Web Resources

Racers Against Street Racing

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Street Racing: Problem-Oriented Guides for Police