Screen grab from an NBC video in which Morgan Lake, 22, of Maryland describes escaping from her submerged car in Chesapeake Bay after being struck by a tractor-trailer driven by a Prince Edward Island man.
Driver distraction was the cause of a crash in Maryland that saw a truck from Prince Edward Island push a car over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge last month, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.
On July 19 around 8:24 p.m., a Bulk Carriers truck driven by Gabor Lavasz hit a Chrysler Sebring and pushed it over the bridge where it fell about eight metres into the Chesapeake Bay.
The report, which was released Monday, said 29-year-old Lavasz told investigators he had turned his attention to the driver-side mirror because of lights and sounds behind him.
When he looked back he saw traffic had stopped so he tried to avoid hitting the car by moving into the left lane, the driver reported.
The report said Lavasz was unable to avoid the Chrysler Sebring and the truck pushed it into the bridge’s concrete wall.
The truck and Sebring kept going and hit a Mazda CX-5 before the Sebring went up onto the wall, riding along the top of it before falling into the Chesapeake Bay.
It landed between two bridge piers in about two metres of water.
Morgan Lake, 24, was able to get out of the Sebring, swim to a nearby bridge pier and was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The report said the driver had been working for Bulk Carriers since April 2013 and had moved to Canada as part of the temporary foreign workers program.
It was Lavasz’s first time driving in the U.S. without someone more experienced along with him.
He was on his way to pick up his next load in Maryland after making a delivery in Orange, Virginia.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is almost seven kilometres long and has two parallel spans.
Traffic usually flows in the same direction on each span, although it can be reversed for one lane in what is known as contra-flow.
All traffic was moving in the same direction at the time of the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board said its report was preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.