This was the morning news, which is piggy-backed by the events from Fridays fatal event on the Bay Bridge in Maryland.
Police: No Suspect, Motive In Firefighter's Death
POSTED: 11:35 am EDT May 12, 2007
UPDATED: 1:57 pm EDT May 13, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Police said they have no suspects, witnesses or motive in the shooting death of a 25-year-old D.C. firefighter.
Michael Holmone was off-duty and on his way to play cards with friends near the Prince George's County border Friday night when someone fired two shots at him and killed him, police said.
Friends and family are trying to figure out why someone would want to kill the D.C. native, who was assigned to Engine 19 in Anacostia.
But Holmone's mother and police say they think the shooter was someone who knew Holmone, and that it stemmed from some kind of conflict.
Capt. Scott Smith supervised Holmone for a few months and remembered him as an intuitive firefighter who didn't need to be told what to do. He leaves behind a wife and two small sons, ages 2 and 4.
Police are hoping someone can help identify a suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099.
Copyright 2007 by nbc4.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fridays MVA fatality involved two members of ... well here is a follow-on story:
-Way Traffic Questioned After Fatal Bay Bridge Crash
Authorities Identify Deceased
POSTED: 4:44 pm EDT May 10, 2007
UPDATED: 9:44 pm EDT May 11, 2007
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WASHINGTON -- Two-way traffic on the westbound span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge does not appear to have been a contributing factor to a chain-reaction, multivehicle collision that resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to five others, authorities said Friday, but AAA Mid-Atlantic questioned whether the traffic flow made the crash worse.
The crash occurred about 4:15 p.m. Thursday near the beginning of the westbound span, said Lindsay Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority, which operates the bridge. A trailer being towed by a sport utility vehicle detached and other vehicles swerved to avoid it, officials said.
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"Other vehicles that were following swerved to avoid a trailer, and that's what started this collision," said Cpl. Jonathan Green, a spokesman for the transportation police, who described it as a difficult and "unbelievable crash scene" with vehicles pinned against each other.
With questions about the safety of the two-way traffic being raised, Maryland Transportation Authority Police Chief Marcus Brown underscored that a runaway trailer appeared to cause the seven-vehicle collision.
"An important point to make is that from the current investigation, it does not appear that the accident was the result of two-way traffic on the bay bridge," Brown said.
But AAA Mid-Atlantic said a barrier between lanes may have prevented multiple crashes.
"While it's too early to say, it is quite likely that had the counterflows of traffic been barrier separated, the multiple collisions that made this crash so horrific may not have occurred," said Ragina Averella, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Investigators said they do not know why or how the trailer became unhitched. Police have video footage from the bridge, but it does not shed light on how the trailer broke loose.
The driver of the SUV, whom police declined to identify, has not been charged or ticketed.
Although tests for drugs or alcohol in the driver had not been finished, Brown said the man had not showed signs of being intoxicated.
It may take as long as two months before investigators complete their report.
Police said Randall R. Orff, 47, and his son, Jonathan R. Orff, 19, of Millington, Md., died as a result of the crash. James H. Ingle, 44, of Crofton, Md., also died.
The Orffs were riding eastbound in a pickup, and Ingle was driving westbound in a car. The SUV that was pulling the trailer that came unhitched also was heading westbound, as were the other four vehicles involved in the crash.
Averella urged the state to "examine viable ways to barrier separate the traffic flows when mixing directions on one bridge."
Brown said an investigation was continuing, and an "after action" report would be finished in about two months. Asked about discussions relating to creating a median between the traffic flows, Brown said: "All of that will be discussed in the after action."
Although Brown emphasized it was the trailer that caused the accident, he said it will take further investigation to determine whether two-way traffic made the accident worse or harder to avoid once the trailer became unhitched.
"I believe we'll have those questions answered once we're finished with the investigation," Brown said.
One person was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with life-threatening injuries. Four others had less-serious injuries, said MTA Police Chief Marcus Brown.
Brown said two pickup trucks, a tanker hauling animal fat, a tow truck, a van, an SUV pulling a 4-by-6 flatbed trailer and a passenger vehicle were involved in the crash.
The driver of the SUV was "very upset" and "shook up, (but had) no major injuries," Brown said.
Structural engineers examined the bridge by boat, air and on the span itself. "The bridge was found to be structurally sound and safe to be reopened," Brown said.
All three lanes of the westbound span were open to traffic Friday morning.
Television images showed police and rescue workers examining the mangled wreckage of several vehicles, including a tanker and a flatbed truck. A silver car was crushed between the cab of the tanker and the bridge railing.
Traffic was snarled behind the wreckage.
Stores and gas stations around the eastern side of the bridge were busy Thursday night with stranded motorists waiting for westbound lanes to reopen.
Melodie Shreve was staffing the Shore Stop in Stevensville, about a mile from the eastern end of the bridge, by herself. Asked if they were busier than usual, she said: "Oh my goodness, if you only knew."
"They can't get across the bridge to go home, so they're just hanging out until the bridge opens up. It's good for business, but it's not good for me here all alone."
The Best Western in Grasonville, a few miles from the bridge, was sold out by 8 p.m. Thursday, according to Melissa Hess, front desk supervisor at the hotel.
There was a steady stream of people who gave up on waiting and decided to stay the night, she said. At least a third of the 92 rooms were taken by walk-ins, Hess said. Some guests had even given up the second rooms in their suites to help out the stranded motorists, she said.
At the time of the crash, vehicles were moving in both directions on the westbound span, with one lane carrying eastbound traffic. That's standard procedure during weekday afternoons, when many commuters return to their homes on the Eastern Shore, Reilly said.
The original, two-lane span of the 4.3-mile bridge, which now carries eastbound traffic, was built in 1952. The three-lane westbound span opened in 1973.
The structure, the main artery connecting Maryland's Eastern Shore with the rest of the state, is officially known as the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge. There was a triple fatality on the same span of the bridge in 1996. On that occasion, the bridge also was accommodating two-way traffic.
Motorists can call 877-BAY-SPAN for commuter information.
Copyright 2007 by nbc4.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Randall and Jonathan were members of Crumpton Volunteer Fire Dept, Crumpton, MD. Services information is contained on the front page of their website.
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