Paused at a stop sign near the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus, Gaimei Woah-Tee waited while a VTC police car -- its siren blaring -- passed. Then the 23-year-old student drove into the intersection -- unaware that a second police cruiser was close behind the first one, police said yesterday.
The cars collided.
Paramedics revived Woah-Tee at the scene, but she died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center a few hours after the crash, which occurred at 10: 20 p.m. Saturday at Center and Loop roads in Baltimore County.
"She entered the intersection just as the second police car, with lights and sirens, came around the curve," said Bill Toohey, spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department. "It's just a very tragic incident."
Woah-Tee was headed to the grocery store.
Baltimore County Officer Joseph Quacttrochi, 29, was driving the vehicle that struck Woah-Tee's 1995 Hyundai. He suffered minor injuries. Quacttrochi was responding to another officer's call for help to break up a fight at an after-hours club in Arbutus, police said.
Woah-Tee's uncle, Dempster Woah-Tee, described her as a hard-working, respectful student whose academic success was a point of pride to the family and especially to her four younger siblings.
She was one semester shy of receiving her computer science degree, her family said.
"In Africa, if you do something first and you are the head of your brothers and sisters, during the process, you take all your brothers and sisters with you," her uncle said. "She was representing all her brothers and sisters."
UMBC held a counseling session yesterday for about 20 residents of the Hillside apartments, where Woah-Tee lived with two roommates.
"If you met her, you would think she was a shy person, or serious," said Omayone Ekperigin, who lived with Woah-Tee for three years. "But it's just on the surface. If you get to know her, she's really sweet and lovable."
Quacttrochi is taking a few days off from work and is unavailable for comment, Toohey said yesterday.
"Preliminarily, there seems to be no fault on the part of the officer, but we will do a very thorough review and investigation," said Toohey.
He said investigators will measure skid marks to determine how fast the police car was going. Both police vehicles had sirens and flashing lights on, he said.
The Baltimore County Police Department's Wilkens Precinct is at the edge of UMBC. , and Toohey said it is common for officers to drive along Loop Road, which encircles the UMBC campus.
Pub Date: 4/27/98