Arundel girl, 15, killed in collision Other crashes fatal to Bethesda man, North Carolina couple

April 07, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Alisa Samuels contributed to this article.

An article in Sunday's editions about a fatal accident Friday night in Anne Arundel County incorrectly identified which vehicles the drivers and passenger were riding in and the position of the vehicles.

Bethany Anne Balasic, 15, who died in the crash, was partially thrown from a Mazda pickup truck driven by Joseph Leigh Cornett, 18, of Severna Park. The other vehicle, a 1988 Honda Accord, was driven by Justin Paul Heaps, 18, of Arnold.

Police said the pickup truck was southbound on the shoulder of Ritchie Highway when it ran a red light and struck the Honda, which was turning left from the northbound lanes.


The same article also misidentified the victim of an accident Friday afternoon in Mount Airy. Helen Muir Bertke, 62, was killed when her car crossed Route 27 and crashed into an oncoming tractor-trailer.

The Sun regrets the errors.

A 15-year-old Severna Park honor student died in a two-car collision Friday night after being thrown from the car in which she was riding.

Bethany Anne Balasic was a passenger in a Honda Accord traveling south on Ritchie Highway when the car ran a red light and was struck by a pickup truck turning left on Cypress Creek Road, Anne Arundel County police said.

The fatal accident was one of three in the metro area this holiday weekend.

Ms. Balasic, who was not wearing a seat belt, died of massive head and chest injuries less than an hour after the accident. The driver of the Accord, Joseph Leigh Cornett, 18, and the driver and passenger of the pickup truck received minor injuries.

Police said Mr. Cornett was driving on the shoulder of Ritchie Highway when he ran the red light. The car flipped over when it was hit, and Ms. Balasic was thrown out.

"If she had been wearing a seat belt, she probably would have been alive," said Officer Greg Russell. "At least she wouldn't have been ejected."

No charges have been filed. Officer Russell said the state's attorney will review the accident.

Yesterday, Ms. Balasic's older brother mourned the loss of his sister, who was an honor student at Severna Park High School, a sports fan and an avid reader.

"She used to stay up late reading with a light by her bed," said Jonathan Balasic, 17. "The Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys. She read just about every book they had."

Ms. Balasic was a member of the field hockey, lacrosse, basketball and softball teams at her high school. Her brother said she loved to play with her dog, a Doberman pinscher.

He said his sister and Mr. Cornett were on their way to see a movie when the accident occurred.

In other accidents:

A 63-year-old Bethesda man was killed at 2 p.m. Friday in Mount Airy when his Honda Accord crossed the center line and struck a truck head-on at Ridge and Leishear roads, state police said.

A 78-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman, both from North Carolina, were killed Friday evening in a head-on collision on Route 222 at the northbound ramp of Interstate 95 in Perryville.

A Nissan Sentra driven by James Brad Bailey, 45, of Conowingo crossed the center line of the road and collided with a Ford Escort, state police said.

Maurice Cook and Florence Cook, both passengers in the Ford, died. The driver of the car, Lynn Cook, 46, of Yaphank, N.Y., was listed in guarded, stable condition last night at Harford Memorial Hospital.

State police said alcohol may have been a factor in the 5: 44 p.m. accident.

Pub Date: 4/07/96

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