By daybreak, you could see the crushed wreckage of the cars after the head-on crash on Route 50 near Bay Dale Drive, and moments before impact, about two in the morning, at least five people called 911 reporting the vehicle, which had been traveling the wrong way.
"A car just came at me about 100 miles per hour going the wrong way on Route 50," said one motorist who narrowly avoided the oncoming car.
But seconds later, a head-on crash left this caller who had stopped on the other side of the highway to describe its aftermath.
"The car is smoking,” said the female caller. “I don't think it's on fire. It looks like he hit the Jersey wall I think and maybe another vehicle. Oh my God! I'd get somebody out here quick."
Maryland State Police shut down the westbound lanes of the highway as rescue workers attempted to pry the victims from the wreckage. The second such wrong-way accident within a half mile of each other on this same stretch of the highway.
"It appears the driver of a 2002 Hyundai Accent identified as Christine Parks of Severn was headed eastbound in the westbound lanes and as she was traveling in the left lane of the westbound lanes, she struck another vehicle head-on," said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police.
Investigators say 34-year-old Hui Xu of Herndon, Virginia also died in the crash.
As his Honda Civic spun into the middle of the highway, a third vehicle carrying two people from California crashed into it, but they walked away with minor injuries.
"The cause of the crash has not been positively identified, but investigators have not ruled out the involvement of alcohol in this crash,” said Shipley. “There were bottles of alcoholic beverages found in the vehicle."
Following a double fatal crash in May on the eastbound side of Route 50, the State Highway Administration reviewed the signage, lane markings and lighting, but found no contributing factors.
We're told they will conduct a similar review in the aftermath of this incident.