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Accident Report Detail

Ford Explorer Sport Collision with Ford Windstar Minivan and Jeep Grand Cherokee on Interstate 95/495

Executive Summary

On February 1, 2002, about 8:00 p.m., on the outer lanes of Interstate 95/495 near Largo, Maryland, a 1998 two-door Ford Explorer Sport, traveling northbound at an estimated speed of 70 to 75 mph, veered off the left side of the roadway, crossed over the median, climbed up a guardrail, flipped over, and landed on top of a southbound 2001 four-door Ford Windstar minivan. Subsequently, a 1998 four-door Jeep Grand Cherokee ran into the minivan. Of the eight people involved in the accident, five adults were fatally injured, one adult sustained minor injuries, and two children were uninjured.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the February 1, 2002, collision of the Ford Explorer Sport with the Ford Windstar minivan and Jeep Grand Cherokee was the Explorer driver’s failure to maintain directional control of her high-profile, short-wheelbase vehicle in the windy conditions due to a combination of inexperience, unfamiliarity with the vehicle, speed, and distraction caused by use of a handheld wireless telephone. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the lack of an effective median barrier at the accident site.

Accident Location: Largo , MD    
Accident Date: 2/1/2002
Accident ID: HWY02MH009

Date Adopted: 6/3/2003
NTSB Number: HAR-03-02
NTIS Number: PB2003-916202