5 motor vehicle deaths raise weekend toll to 11

December 14, 1992|By John Frece | John Frece,Staff Writer

Two motorists burned to death in a fiery, early-morning crash in Prince George's County yesterday, and two back seat passengers were killed Saturday evening when the small car in which they were riding veered off an interstate highway near Hancock, became airborne and collided head-on with an oncoming Ford Bronco.

Also, a pedestrian attempting to cross a West Baltimore street against the signal was struck and killed by an eastbound car Saturday evening.

The five fatalities raised to 11 the number of motorists and pedestrians killed in traffic accidents around Maryland this weekend, including a triple fatality in Anne Arundel County Friday night and a double fatality in Carroll County on Saturday.

Prince George's fire and police officials said they were still investigating the cause of a single-car accident at 4:47 a.m. yesterday on southbound Route 210 near Fort Washington Road in Oxon Hill.

Two occupants of the car were burned beyond recognition, and police were awaiting the results of autopsies to determine their identities, a fire department spokesman said.

A third occupant, who has not been identified, was thrown from the vehicle and later flown by helicopter to the Washington Hospital Center for treatment, county officials said.

On Saturday evening about 6:30 p.m., a Hyundai Excel went out of control on Interstate 70 approximately five miles east of Hancock, state police said. The car hit and then hurdled a guardrail in the median, traveled down an embankment and struck an eastbound 1990 Ford Bronco.

Two teen-agers in the back seat, Rachel Lynne Nicholson, 16, of Oxon Hill, and Brian A. Smith, 17, of Springfield, Va., were "partially or completely" thrown from the vehicle and killed, police said.

The driver of the car, Joseph Davies, 25, and the other front-seat occupant, James E. Carter, 16, both of Alexandria, Va., were taken to Washington County Hospital, where Mr. Davies was listed in fair condition and Mr. Carter was treated and released, police said.

State Police Cpl. Thomas H. Woodward said that both Mr. Davies and Mr. Carter may have been saved because they were wearing shoulder-harness seat belts at the time of the accident, but that the two teens who were killed were not.

"If they had worn seat belts, it would have lessened the injuries," he said.

No one in the Ford Bronco, driven by Douglas Alan Huffman of Baltimore, was injured, Corporal Woodward said, adding that, "There was no indication of any alcohol being involved [in the accident]."

"What caused [Mr. Davies] to lose control and strike the guard rail, we don't know," he said.

The accident is still under investigation and no charges have been filed.

Also on Saturday, around 8:35 p.m., 46-year-old Leroy Saunders of Lyndhurst Street was fatally injured as he attempted to cross West Baltimore Street east of Franklintown Road.

Although Mr. Saunders was in a marked crosswalk, police said, he was crossing against the pedestrian signal when he was struck by an eastbound 1986 Plymouth Reliant driven by Randy Hall, 29, of Abbotson Street.

Mr. Saunders was taken by a medic unit to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died at 9:25 p.m. of massive head injuries, city police said.

Police said there was no evidence of alcohol or drug use involved in the accident, although they were still investigating whether speed might have been a contributing factor.

In still another weekend accident, 20-year-old Daniel Kirk Taylor of Tyaskin, near Nanticoke in Wicomico County, was reported to be unconscious and in critical condition at Peninsula General Hospital after apparently falling asleep at the wheel and crashing into a tree.

According to state police in Salisbury, Mr. Taylor was driving a 1991 Plymouth Sundance west on Route 349 about a tenth of a mile west of Fire Tower Road about 6:07 a.m. yesterday when he suddenly veered off the right side of the road, came back across the center line, into a ditch off the left side and then into a wooded area where he hit a tree head-on. He suffered facial lacerations and multiple internal injuries, police said.

Although an air bag inflated upon impact, police said, his injuries might have been reduced had he been wearing a seat belt.

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