'I figured I was going to die . . . ,' driver says

March 17, 1992|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,Staff Writer

Jason Guy remembered the car starting to fishtail. He said he knew, at 65 or 75 miles per hour, he wasn't going to make the

turn.

"I figured I was going to die, so . . . ," Mr. Guy said, pausing. So, he removed his seat belt, he said. He grabbed the shoulder harness and lifted it over his head.

His passenger did the same, Mr. Guy said. Their car, after being chased at high speeds by a Baltimore County police officer, crashed into trees and flipped over numerous times about 2 a.m. yesterday at Edmondson Avenue and North Chapelgate Lane in West Baltimore.

The passenger, Raymond C. Wilson, 16, of Cherry Hill, was killed. Mr. Guy, who turned 18 one week ago, survived, and yesterday he told his story at police headquarters.

He still wore his hospital pajamas, robe and slippers after police picked him up from the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He looked as if he'd been beaten up by a gang of thugs -- dried blood caked his face, his right eye was swollen nearly shut, his right hip was killing him, he said.

He also wore handcuffs. He was about to be charged with automobile manslaughter.

Later yesterday, as his parents sat in the living room of their Gardenville home and listened as a reporter recounted their son's story, they both shook their heads.

He did what? they asked incredulously. He took off his seat belt just before he crashed?

They shook their heads again.

Mr. Guy's stepfather, Collin Morris, said that Mr. Guy always had had trouble dealing with reality, that he sometimes had exhibited a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Mr. Guy's mother, Theresa Morris, said the young man had been undergoing psychiatric counseling since the age of 8 or 9.

Mr. Morris, 46, is a dispatcher at Blue Diamond trucking company. Mrs. Morris, 39, is head teller at Signet Bank at South Charles and Lombard streets.

Mr. Guy said at police headquarters yesterday that he graduatedfrom Patterson High School last June -- a year early -- with a 98.7 grade average. What really happened, said his parents and the school's principal, Dr. Frank Thomas, was that Jason Guy quit coming to school in the 10th grade.

"He was a very unusual man," said Dr. Thomas, who was reluctant to say more about Mr. Guy for fear of violating a former student's privacy. "He kind of marched to his own drummer."

Mr. Guy took off on his own about 2 a.m. Friday in his mother's light blue Ford Escort -- without her permission, he said. He had just completed two weeks of in-house arrest, ordered by juvenile court, for taking his mother's car earlier, his parents said.

He had been in trouble with the police a few times before, he hTC and his parents said.

Mr. Guy said yesterday that he took the car early Friday -- and his parents said he took his brother's money and credit cards, too -- because he "felt like I should leave, so I did. I was sick and tired of being the scapegoat for everything that happened in that family."

His parents were baffled by that comment, they said. Things had been going well at home recently, they said.

Jason Guy, the youngest of five children, had enrolled in the Job Corps to learn carpentry and obtain his high-school equivalency diploma, his mother said. After that, he wanted to join the Army, his parents said.

And Sunday, five days after turning 18, relatives and friends were to come to the Morris home in the 5000 block of Hillburn Avenue and celebrate Mr. Guy's birthday.

"What possessed him to take that car and leave?" Mr. Morris said. "There was no argument, no cross words. There wasn't anything."

"Nothing fits," Mrs. Morris said. "Nothing makes any sense. I can't make sense out of any of it."

Mr. Guy said yesterday that he took the car with no real idea where he was going or what he was going to do. He drove around Friday morning and slept a couple of hours in the car, he said. He picked up his buddy, Rufus, about 7:30 a.m. Friday. That's the name he used for Raymond Wilson. They had met through mutual friends, he said.

Rufus didn't want to go to school, Mr. Guy said, so they went to see a late-morning showing of "Lawn Mower Man," a movie based on a Stephen King novel.

They spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday together, Mr. Guy said. They went to malls, cruised by bars and drove to Annapolis, he said, "but we were just primarily out looking for girls."

They slept a friend's house Saturday night and in the car Sunday, Mr. Guy said.

"We took things one day at a time," he said.

They didn't drink or take drugs, Mr. Guy said. But shortly before 2 a.m. Monday, Mr. Guy apparently ran a red light in Woodlawn in Baltimore County. Baltimore County police officers took off after him.

"Rufus told me to outrun them," Mr. Guy said. "I asked him, 'What happens if I get in an accident?' And he said, 'If you do, you do.' So I floored it."

Mr. Guy said he doesn't know exactly where they drove, because they were driving so fast. But he remembers something about the crash, he said.

"All I remember is hitting a tree and everything coming inward," he said. "The next thing I knew I was upside down.

"Rufus got ejected from the car, and I was in the car. He's dead. I'm not. It makes no sense."

Raymond Wilson's next-door neighbor, Ernestine Hall, 32, said yesterday that she was surprised to hear the 16-year-old was involved in leading police on a high-speed chase. He didn't seem like a trouble-maker, she said. She said he was a quiet boy who was basically a loner. There were no young people his age in the neighborhood to socialize with, she said.

Ms. Hall said he was trying to form a band with fellow students at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. "I told him not to forget me when he made it," she said.

Mr. Guy said little about Rufus, except that he was funny and liked to have a good time.

"I can't believe he's dead," Mr. Guy said. "I should be dead, too. I know that much."

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