The motor vehicle collision that held up traffic for hours yesterday took the life of Gene “Joe” Byrd, 78, of Edgewater, as confirmed by the Anne Arundel County Police. The other driver, Edward Mark Cramer, of Lothian, was not injured. Driver error is the possible cause for the collision at this time. Police do not believe alcohol or excessive speed were contributing factors, but the investigation is ongoing.
According to his website, www.joebyrdjazz.com, Gene “Joe” Byrd was born in 1933 in Virginia. He was the younger brother to guitarist Charlie Byrd. Joe graduated from Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. Joe was a Good Will Ambassador for the State Department. He and his older brother performed together in the Charlie Byrd Trio. When Joe was not performing with his brother, he had his own group, The Joe Byrd Trio, and his group was the house band for the Old Annapolis Hilton, the Annapolis Hotel, and L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C. Joe had performed with Teddy Wilson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Mose Allison, and Coleman Hawkins. He collaborated with Frank Vignola and Chuck Redd to form the Gypsy Jazz Trio. Byrd performed at the White House for Presidents Johnson, Ford, and Carter. Joe and his wife, Elena, produced two albums in 2001, and created JEB Music Label. He retired in 2008. Of his career, Joe said, “I’m the luckiest guy alive…I’ve had a wonderful 40-year career and have made a living playing the music I love best.”
Traffic was heavily affected on 3/6/2012 following a motor vehicle collision involving a Volvo station wagon and a GMC SUV at the intersection of Solomon’s Island Road (southbound) and Lee Airpark Drive that occurred at approximately 2:50 pm. Upon the fire department’s arrival, there was one patient trapped in the Volvo needing extrication following a driver’s side impact from the GMC. The patient that was extricated was in cardiac arrest, however, we have not received word on the patient’s condition at this time. The accident caused Southbound Solomon’s Island Road to be closed from Virginia Ave to Mayo Road for around 2-2 ½ hours, which caused major traffic delays from Annapolis to South County. Riva Road, the alternate for Solomon’s Island Road, was also severely backed up, and that back up extended onto 97 South.
We will have an update tomorrow as soon as we speak to the authorities regarding the conditions of both parties involved.