Families Of Bay Bridge Accident Victims Sue MDTA, Others

Relatives of three men killed on the Bay Bridge in 2007 after a trailer detached from a SUV filed a $19-million lawsuit against the SUV driver, a state agency and others. James H. Ingle, 44, of Federalsburg and Randall R. Orff, 47, and his 19-year-old son, Jonathan R. Orff, both of Crumpton, were killed in the crash. One of the bridge’s two spans was set up for two-way traffic with no barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes. The lawsuit filed by relatives of Ingle and the Orffs claims the Maryland Transportation Authority knew it was risky to allow two-way traffic on one span because of past collisions.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Paul D. Bekman, said he disagrees with the transportation authority’s claim that two-way traffic did not contribute to the crash. The state should have used portable barriers between the lanes of opposing traffic, a measure employed on bridges elsewhere. A spokeswoman for the transportation authority said the agency cannot comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit also names SUV driver Stephen A. Burt; trailer owner Levon Andonian; truck driver Joshua Hargrove of Baltimore; Hargrove’s employer, Mobile Mini Inc.; truck driver Edwin Dixon of Chinquapin, N.C.; and Dixon’s employer, AG Trucking Inc. Burt was westbound on the bridge on May 10, 2007, when the trailer detached from his SUV, causing a series of collisions involving seven vehicles. The complaint argues the trailer was poorly constructed and improperly secured and that the SUV was driving too fast. It also alleges negligent driving on the part of the two truck drivers.