Severn boy, 15, charged with auto manslaughter in teen's death

March 28, 1995|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

A 15-year-old Severn boy has been charged with manslaughter by auto in the death of a Columbia teen, after the unlicensed driver crashed a speeding car packed with six other boys into roadside trees in Jessup Sunday afternoon and then left the scene, Howard police said.

Killed was Allen E. Parker Jr., 14, of the 9000 block of Watchlight Court in Columbia's Long Reach village. An eighth-grader at Owen Brown Middle School, he died of head wounds and internal injuries at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore shortly after the incident.

The accident was the fifth involving a fatality this year in Howard. In all of last year, there were 15 motor vehicle fatalities in the county.

The teen driver, the only occupant of the car not injured, was being held at the Thomas J. S. Waxter Children's Center in Laurel yesterday. Charges against him include reckless and negligent driving and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.

Police said the boy -- whose name was not released because he is a juvenile -- left his wounded friends at the wreck site and was arrested at a High's store two miles from the accident scene in the 8400 block of Mission Road.

Emergency officials said the young Parker, who was riding in the back seat of the two-door 1987 Chrysler LeBaron, was jostled around when the car struck three trees and flipped over.

News of the the youth's death chilled Howard school officials who say juveniles are taking too many risks for the sake of fun during their free time. "It's frightening," said Patti Caplan, spokeswoman for county schools. "Kids at this point don't know their own mortality."

Speeding and the inexperience of the driver caused the accident, said Sgt. Steve Keller, a Howard police spokesman. None of the passengers wore seat belts.

The vehicle, registered to an owner in Mount Airy, was on loan to one of the youth's relatives or friends, police said. Police still are investigating how the youths got possession of the car.

According to police, the 15-year-old drove the car above the posted 30-mph speed limit east on Mission Road about 4 p.m. Sunday. While speeding, he lost control of the car and crossed westbound traffic lanes. The car veered off the road, struck a tree, spun around and hit another tree before finally striking a third tree and overturning. Most of the damage was absorbed on the sides of the car, police said.

When county rescue officials arrived at the scene minutes later, the six passengers were lying on the ground surrounding the wrecked vehicle, said fire Sgt. Bob Wiseman of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

In all, the two front-seat passengers and five back-seat passengers in the car included five 14-year-olds, the 15-year-old driver and a 17-year-old, the only licensed driver among them. A second passenger taken to the Shock Trauma Center was in serious but stable condition yesterday. Two rear-seat passengers were taken to St. Agnes Hospital, treated and released. The front-seat passenger and another rear passenger taken to Laurel Regional Hospital were also treated and released.

Sergeant Keller said police still are investigating the accident.

The Parker youth's friends at Owen Brown Middle School said they they had learned of the boy's death in conversations around the school.

School officials gave no official announcement yesterday, but Ms. Caplan said the county sent a crisis intervention team to the middle school.

"Just think, that could have been us," Dorian Long, 13, said yesterday, seconds after hearing news of the incident.

His schoolmate, Mike Lieberman, 13, added: "It's hard to believe he's dead. It just shows you how quick things can happen."

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