911 calls detail moments before fatal wrong-way crash on Rt. 50

Posted at 5:43 PM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 06:59:26-04

Emergency dispatchers started receiving calls around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon about an "out of control" driver on Route 50 in Annapolis.

Maryland State Police released several audio recordings of those calls that detail the frantic moments before the wrong-way crash that left two people dead and a toddler in the hospital. 

“There was just a car coming head-on down all three lanes eastbound, and it was going westbound in our lanes of traffic, and it was totally out of control,” said a female caller.

Moments after those calls, more calls started flooding in.

“Once troopers were dispatched, more 911 calls came in. Now, they were reporting a crash,” said Maryland State Police spokesperson Elena Russo.

Laura Ashley Murphy, 22, was reportedly driving in the wrong direction on Route 50. Her 2017 black Volkswagen then collided with a car.

“She crashed head-on into a 66-year-old man driving a Mercedes SUV, which ended up rolling over into the ditch and he was trapped in his vehicle. It took quite a while for our EMS responders to get him out of that vehicle and medevacked to the hospital,” Russo said.

Robert Skidmore died at Shock Trauma. Murphy was declared dead at the scene. Her 14-month old son, who was also in the car, was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment.

A third vehicle was involved in the crash. Anthony Stanley, 59, was not injured. His car sustained minor damage.

Investigators are now searching for clues beyond the wreckage.

“They're looking at whether her cell phone may have been a distraction. They're awaiting autopsy results to find out whether there were any impairment issues. They don't even really know why she was in the area being that she was from Salisbury,” Russo said.

Police also aren't sure how long Murphy was on the wrong side of the road, 911 calls indicate she traveled around two miles before crashing just east of the Severn River Bridge.

“I'm on Route 50 east at Exit 29A. Lots of traffic, a car just went the wrong way! Heading toward the Severn River Bridge dodging traffic,” said a male caller.

Investigators are also looking at signage on the roads and whether that had anything to do with Murphy’s decision-making.

Maryland State Police are taking phone calls from any witnesses or friends and family who may have any relevant information. They can be reached at 410-267-5800.

A family member of Robert Skidmore told ABC2 that he was a father and grandfather and left a lasting impression on everyone he spoke to.

According to Johns Hopkins Hospital, the little boy injured in the crash is in good condition As of Thursday afternoon, his vital signs were stable and he was responsive.