The family of John Short, the 57-year-old tractor-trailer driver that died when his truck fell into the Chesapeake Bay during a deadly motor vehicle crash last August, is suing 19-year-old Candy Lynn Baldwin for his wrongful death. Their Maryland civil lawsuit is seeking $7 million from the teenager, who swerved into the lane that Short’s truck was in, causing him to drive his truck through a bridge wall before it fell into the water.
Short’s relatives contend that the deadly Maryland truck accident happened because Baldwin had been drinking prior to getting into her car. Just six months ago, prosecutors decided not to criminally charge the teenager with auto manslaughter because her blood alcohol content two hours after the car-truck collision was .036%. Maryland’s legal BAC limit is .08%.
The Maryland wrongful death lawyer representing Short’s family, however, says Baldwin’s BAC would have been higher if she had been tested right after the Maryland truck accident. He also provided a photo taken from the teenager’s MySpace page that shows her holding a bottle of alcohol while seated behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Baldwin told police she drank four beers on the night of the crash. The 19-year-old says she was very tired while driving early on the morning of August 10 but there was no place for her to pull over. She fell asleep while on the bridge and her car swerved across the center line into Short’s path. Baldwin says she woke up just as she saw herself driving toward the truck.
She pled guilty to negligent driving, violating a license restriction, and failure to drive right of center. Baldwin paid a $470 fine.
Short’s family also plans to sue the state of Maryland for his wrongful death. Poor maintenance and improper operation may be cited. Their wrongful death lawyer says the bridge is not up to today’s standards and that the state should not have allowed two-way traffic on the bridge when there is a lot of traffic. 70% of fatalities on the bridge have occurred when two-way traffic was allowed on one span.