Police Say Trucker Who Caused 11-Vehicle Fatal Crash Was on Cell Phone
Bel Air, MD – A 49-year-old truck driver is facing decades in prison after a Harford County grand jury indicted him on serious charges stemming from a crash in March that took the lives of a local businessman and a young boy.
On Tuesday, Carloo Watson of Brunswick, NJ was indicted on two counts of gross negligence manslaughter by a motor vehicle, two counts of criminal negligence manslaughter by a motor vehicle and four counts of causing serious injury while using a cell phone.
Investigators said Watson was on his cell phone when the tractor-trailer he was operating slammed into 11 vehicles stopped at the intersection of Route 24 and Ring Factory Road at approximately 7 a.m. on March 11.
The collision set off a chain reaction crash as multiple vehicles erupted into flames.
Maryland State Police identified the dead as 7-year-old Tripp Johnson of Joppa and 65-year-old Andrew Klein of Forest Hill.
Authorities said 6 more people were transported to local hospitals.
Klein was an owner of ShopRite grocery stores.
In a cruel twist of fate, Watson was operating a big rig hauling ShopRite goods at the time of the deadly crash.
If convicted on all 8 charges, Watson could face 30 years in prison and a $450,000 fine.
Klein’s wife Jane issued a statement following the announcement of the indictment in which she said:
I do think that there needs to be a punishment to prevent something like this from happening to another family. People need to know there will be consequences for using their phone irresponsibly while driving.
ShopRite released a statement about Klein after his death which reads in part,
We are shocked and saddened to learn about the tragic accident that took place in Maryland today and claimed two precious lives, including an eight year old boy and our own beloved ShopRite family member Andrew Klein, President of Klein’s Family Markets.
Our hearts grieve with both families, and on behalf of the Klein family, we ask that the media and those seeking to express their condolences respect the family’s privacy at this time.
Klein was also a well-known philanthropist for his work in support of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health and the Harford Crisis Center.