Three teen-agers were killed and five others injured early yesterday when a stolen car, driven up to 110 mph by an unlicensed driver, crashed near a bridge over Liberty Reservoir in Carroll County, state police said.
The 1991 Toyota Corolla, reported stolen from Gaithersburg on Friday, was traveling east on Liberty Road when the 16-year-old driver lost control at 1:47 a.m. yesterday, said 1st Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, a state police spokesman.
He said six of the Corolla's eight occupants -- none older than 17 -- were thrown from the car as it spun out of control, slid backward into a guardrail, flipped and came to rest on its roof in the westbound lane near a bridge two miles west of the Carroll-Baltimore County line.
Three 15-year-old high school students were killed instantly in the alcohol-related wreck, Sergeant Shipley said.
Pronounced dead at the scene were South Carroll High School freshmen Dink Diggs, of the 1400 block of E. Ridgeville Blvd. in Mount Airy, and Donna M. Simms, of the 6900 block of Runkles Road in Mount Airy; and Christopher Norris, of the 1300 block of Henryton Road in Marriottsville. Authorities said they had not determined where the Norris youth went to school.
Two 15-year-old sisters from Gaithersburg were seriously injured in the accident. Melissa D. Costley and Angela N. Costley, of the 1200 block of Knoll Lane, were listed in fair condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
State police charged the unlicensed driver of the car, a 16-year-old from Mount Airy, as a juvenile with three counts of homicide by automobile while intoxicated, plus auto theft, drunken driving, speeding, reckless driving and driving without a license. He suffered minor head injuries and was to be taken to the Charles H. Hickey School in Parkville after his release from Carroll County General Hospital, police said.
The two other survivors, Gaithersburg youths ages 16 and 17, were charged as juveniles with auto theft and possession of alcohol. They were being held last night at the Hickey School, Sergeant Shipley said. They were treated for minor injuries at Carroll County General Hospital and Baltimore County General Hospital, respectively.
Police would not divulge the names of the three youths who were charged.
Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said last night that he intends to charge the driver as an adult and will ask a Circuit Court judge to move the proceedings from juvenile to adult court this week.
"This is the second-worst drunk driving case I've ever seen," Mr. Hickman said.
The worst, he said, was an accident on Christmas 1981, in which a drunken driver smashed into a car full of people on their way to church. Five of the car's occupants were killed instantly.
Sergeant Shipley said no alcohol was found at yesterday's accident scene, but Mr. Hickman said one of his investigators learned that the group of eight friends had been drinking in a field near a Mount Airy miniature golf course.
The youths were at the Putt N Fun on Main Street Saturday night when they apparently drank alcohol before heading to another friend's house, Mr. Hickman said.
The prosecutor and state police said they did not know how many in the group were drinking or who provided the youths with alcohol.
According to information from Sergeant Shipley and Mr. Hickman, Tfc. Dennis Hooper of the state police was on patrol, traveling west on Liberty Road near Berkley Road in Eldersburg, when he saw the Toyota speeding east. Trooper Hooper turned his patrol car around, but the Toyota was out of sight.
He radioed Cpl. Andy Anders, who was on patrol along Liberty Road about a mile east, to look for the speeding car. About the time Corporal Anders received the call, the Toyota sped past him.
Neither trooper activated his siren or began to chase the car, police said.
The Toyota, reaching speeds estimated at close to 110 miles an hour, continued east until it swerved into the westbound lane as it approached the first of two bridges across Liberty Reservoir, investigators said.
The car spun, slid backward into a guardrail beside the eastbound lane, and flipped upside down into the westbound lane where it was struck by a westbound 1988 Ford driven by a Sykesville woman, Sergeant Shipley said.
The speed limit along that stretch of Liberty Road varies between 40 mph and 55 mph, police said.
The Ford's driver, Katherine A. Illari, 33, of the 6300 block of Old Washington Road, declined treatment at the scene. Police said she was not charged, and that the crash between the Ford and the Toyota caused "medium damage" to Ms. Illari's car but produced no additional injuries.
Ambulances from the Sykesville, Gamber, Liberty Road and Randallstown stations, and fire engines from Sykesville and Liberty Road were sent to the accident scene.
Brett Pearce, a Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department firefighter and emergency medical technician, described the accident scene as "a total mess, several people laying around."