Kent Island widow opens up about husband's death on Bay Bridge

KENT ISLAND, Md. - Kent Island woman Ellen Gale says she was motivated to tell the story of her late husband by an NTSB report that detailed a Bay Bridge accident that sent a college student into the Chesapeake.

She's disappointed--not with what is in the report, but with what isn't.

Her husband Harry Blauvelt’s car stalled on the bridge in the worst possible place—a construction zone on the two-lane eastbound span.

He was struck from the behind, which sent his sedan over the wall and into the water.

“Whenever you get a call from police telling you you have to come somewhere you know it's not a good sign,” Gale said.

She would soon find out here husband died on April 18, 2011.

“A flatbed truck rear-ended his Honda Accord. His Honda Accord hit him and it propelled him against the jersey barrier, over the water, here he fell about 60 feet,” she said.

Blauvelt was a journalist, and huge sports fan—especially Navy football.

The driver of the truck that hit him wasn't watching where he was going.

There was a similar crash last summer. A woman's car was pushed over the jersey barrier and down into the bay.

The NTSB’s new report on that crash makes several recommendations, none of which address the central problem Blauvelt's widow wanted to hear: the height of that barrier.

"My husband was 6-foot-3, it didn't help him from going over,” Gale said.  

She's not sure that would have saved her husband, but last summer's crash shocked her again.

"There's no way a car should be able to go over a jersey barrier … Whether it's a truck that hit them, another car, that just should not happen.”
 Gale lives on Kent Island so she can't avoid the Bay Bridge. But now she drives over it as little as she can, until she says, more can be done to make the bridge safer.

“This report just struck an extra nerve in me,” Gale said. “This is the first time I’m really speaking out about it. It's traumatic. It's tragic. I don't want to see this happen to anyone.”

The Maryland Transportation Authority has not addressed the issue of heightening the jersey barriers. But in the past the agency has said it's not possible to add jersey barriers to the middle of the lanes, to protect cars going in opposite directions during two-way traffic because that would add too much weight to the Bay Bridge.

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