- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Maryland inmate was killed yesterday morning when a car on the Capital Beltway ran off the road and struck him as he was collecting trash, police said.

James Morton-Bey, 27, was one of seven inmates on trash detail when a Toyota Avalon drifted from the right lane onto the right shoulder and hit him, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Maj. Priscilla Doggett.

The incident happened shortly after 10 a.m. on the Inner Loop just south of Branch Avenue, state police said.

Another inmate, whose name was withheld pending notification of his family, was hit in the left leg and was taken to a hospital, Maj. Doggett said. His injury was not life-threatening.

The car’s driver, Robert Cayruth Jr., 65, and his wife, Mable, 64, were not injured, police said.

Police were investigating the cause of the accident, and no charges had been filed.

“This was an unfortunate accident, not the result of a breach of safety protocol,” Maj. Doggett said.

She did not know of any inmate fatalities in a work zone in at least the past nine years.

Morton-Bey was serving a two-year sentence for drug distribution in Baltimore and was scheduled to be released next June, Maj. Doggett said. He had been on the road crew since April.

Maj. Doggett said a corrections officer was with the crew, and Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman David Buck said safety workers were at the scene.

Mr. Buck said all of the inmates were wearing the required yellow safety vests and that a sign on a dump truck in front of the work zone was intended to alert drivers.

Mr. Buck said the nature of trash detail makes it difficult to prevent accidents.

“You can’t create a work zone with cones and barrels because it’s constantly moving,” he said. “It’s a mobile work zone.”

Last year, three pedestrians were struck on the Beltway, two of whom died, according to the highway administration. In 2005, eight were hit and three died.

Also last year, 94 pedestrians were killed on Maryland highways, including 19 in Prince George’s County, according to the data. In 2005, there were 101 fatalities, 35 of which were in Prince George’s.

Mr. Buck said the state has been campaigning for pedestrian safety, particularly in communities where English is not spoken predominantly and many people are not familiar with traffic laws.

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