STEVENSVILLE--Maryland Transportation Authority officials continued their investigation Thursday into the overturning of a tractor trailer on the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge during high winds the day before.
"We believe wind was a contributing factor but we don't yet know if it was the only factor," said MdTA spokesman Ray Feldman Thursday.
The truck overturned on the three-lane span and came to rest against the railing next to the left lane near the western shore end of the bridge shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday. It blocked two lanes of the bridge, according to the MdTA.
The driver, identified as James Thomas Savage, Jr., 53, of Owings Mills, was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center for minor injuries and was treated and released Wednesday night, Feldman said.
Kevin Aftung, Chief of the Queen Anne's County Department of Emergency Services, said he was told that when rescue personnel went to remove Savage from the truck the wind tore the truck's door off.
The truck was removed from the bridge around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Feldman.
Wind restrictions were in effect on the bridge because sustained winds were between 40 and 49 miles an hour, the MdTA said.
When restrictions are in place house trailers, empty box trailers or any other vehicles "that, in the opinion of law enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge," according to an MdTA statement.
The accident occurred about 20 minutes before the MdTA closed both spans of the bridge at 2:30 p.m. because wind gusts of over 55 miles an hour were recorded. The twin spans remained closed until 6:16 p.m. Wednesday when they were opened only to passenger vehicles, the MdTA said.
The wind restrictions were downgraded to wind warnings shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday and operators of vehicles subject to the wind were advised to use caution crossing the bridge.
Normal operations involving all vehicles resumed around 7 a.m. Thursday when all wind advisories were lifted, Feldman said.