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Freightliner Tractor-trailer Collides with Kia Optima on Delaware Memorial Bridge
By JSalmon on 03/24/2021:  

 Freightliner Tractor-trailer Collides with Kia Optima on Delaware Memorial Bridge
Two People Succumb to their Injuries; Another Person in Serious Condition in Local Hospital

NEW CASTLE, Del. – At approximately 3:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Mary Sanderlin, 37, of Salem, New Jersey was driving a black Kia Optima passenger vehicle when it broke down in the middle right lane of the Delaware-bound span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. A white Freightliner tractor/semi-trailer, operated by Carlos Hopcroft, 30, of Virginia, rear-ended the disabled car – pushing it from the middle right lane into the far right lane and into the guardrail.

Ms. Sanderlin and back seat passenger, Rudolf Parish, 29, of Bridgeton, New Jersey were pronounced dead at the scene. The families of the victims were notified by officers with Salem and Bridgeton Police Departments respectively. Front seat passenger, Jewel Bard, 28, of Penns Grove, New Jersey was transported to Christiana Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Salem County Prosecutor’s Office and the Gloucester County Medical Examiner responded to the scene to assist the DRBA Police as did numerous local fire and rescue units including: New Castle EMS/Paramedics; Holloway Terrace Fire Company; Minquadale Fire Company; Wilmington Manor Fire Company; Goodwill Fire Company; Deepwater Fire Company; Inspira EMS/Paramedics and Delaware State Police Trooper 4.

Three lanes were closed on the Delaware-bound bridge from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. with only the far left lane open. A second lane was reopened at 7:00 p.m., followed by a third lane at 8:30 p.m. The accident scene was cleared at 9:20 p.m. and all southbound lanes were open to traffic.

The accident investigation is continuing and charges are pending.

About the Delaware River and Bay Authority
The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May- Lewes Ferry, and the Forts Ferry Crossing. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers - two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities. For more information, visit

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