Traffic light promised at site of teen's fatal crash His mother called top official directly ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY -- Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

April 21, 1993|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

Ever since her 17-year-old son was killed in a traffic accident, Brenda Davis has tried to focus her grief on preventing another accident at the same deadly intersection in southern Anne Arundel County.

Yesterday, while Mrs. Davis leafed through pictures of her red-haired son, Maryland Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer called with a promise to help ease her pain. The state would install a traffic light by July 1 at Muddy Creek and Owensville roads. She burst into sobs.

Her oldest, Eric Christopher Warch, died earlier this month in a car crash at that intersection, the scene of numerous accidents.

"How many more children and fathers and mothers and sisters have to be killed at this intersection?" Mrs. Davis asked.

Galesville residents have been petitioning the State Highway Administration to upgrade the corner of Muddy Creek and Owensville roads for six years.

Two months before Eric was killed, a 61-year-old Galesville man, Henry A. Tydings, died in a similar crash at the intersection, where traffic is controlled only by a flashing light.

Mrs. Davis, 35, spent the past week calling state agencies for help. She steeled herself with tissues and cigarettes (the first since she quit smoking four months ago.)

When she was told that it would take a year for a light, she called Mr. Lighthizer directly.

The transportation secretary assured her yesterday that construction of the light would begin next month.

"We still light candles for him [Eric] every night," Mrs. Davis told Mr. Lighthizer. At the end of their 10-minute conversation, she hung up with a sigh. "Finally something happened."

Mrs. Davis and her husband, Louis, were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when Eric was killed. They had left him and his 15-year-old brother, Allen, in the care of their grandparents.

On the afternoon of April 12, Eric dropped off a classmate at lacrosse practice at Southern High School and drove with another friend toward Galesville on Owensville Road. Eric's friends nicknamed him "Ride" because he was always organizing car pools, said his father, Michael Warch.

As Eric pulled onto Muddy Creek Road, a 1983 Chevrolet driven by Rodney Althouse, 30, of Edgewood, smashed into the side of Eric's 1982 Buick.

The high school senior who loved lacrosse, boating and rock music was killed instantly. His friend, Jason Ryan of Churchton, was flown by helicopter to Prince George's Medical Center for treatment.

Eric's parents are determined that his death will not be in vain. They have established a memorial fund for a lacrosse scholarship.

"We're trying to build on this, rather than it just be a tragedy," said Mr. Warch, who is close to the family despite the divorce 10 years ago.

Later Mrs. Davis walked a visitor down the driveway, past the tulips that bloom in front of her Colonial home on Chalk Point Road. The wreath on the door is wrapped in black.

Then she stood in the middle of the road to make sure the traffic is clear. She wants, so badly, to prevent another accident.

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