On Friday, July 19, 2013, about 8:24 p.m., a 2007 Chrysler Sebring passenger car operated by a 24-year-old female driver was traveling eastbound on US Route 50/301 near Annapolis, Maryland. The Chrysler had passed through the toll plaza to enter onto the eastbound span of the William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge (Chesapeake Bay Bridge). Less than a mile past the toll plaza, after vehicles had merged from 11 toll lanes into two travel lanes, traffic began to slow as the bridge ascended above the Chesapeake Bay and curved to the left.
The Chrysler was in the right lane and had reduced speed to 4 mph due to the traffic queue ahead when it was struck from behind by a 2010 International truck-tractor and refrigerated semitrailer combination unit traveling 47 mph. The truck-tractor, operated by a 29 year-old male driver, collided with the left rear corner of the Chrysler, pushing it into the concrete barrier adjacent to the right lane. As the truck-tractor and the Chrysler continued forward, the front of the Chrysler collided with a 2014 Mazda CX-5 occupied by a 65-year-old male driver and his wife. During the collision sequence, the Chrysler was pushed up onto the barrier wall and then rode along the top of it, before falling approximately 27 feet into the Chesapeake Bay. The Chrysler came to rest between two bridge piers to the south of the eastbound span, in approximately 7 feet of water. The Mazda rotated counter-clockwise and came to rest near the left front corner of the truck-tractor in the middle of the two travel lanes.
As a result of the collision, the driver of the Chrysler received minor injuries. She was able to swim to one of the nearby bridge piers, from which she was rescued and transported to an area hospital. The driver of the truck-tractor and both occupants of the Mazda were uninjured. Weather conditions were clear and dry, and it was near sunset at the time of the crash.