Driver of stolen Jeep dies in fiery crash Collision with van leaves 2 others injured

May 20, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

One man burned to death and two other people were injured early yesterday in West Baltimore when a stolen Jeep collided with a van and then exploded after spinning into a metal pole, city police said.

The van driver, a security guard for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, was thrown from the vehicle and suffered injuries to her knee, head and back. Vonzeller Dansbury, 35, was in stable condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police said they were unable to identify the driver of the 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers said they rescued a 17-year-old passenger from the burning Jeep. Joseph Walker of the 2600 block of Seamon Ave. suffered burns to his hands and arms and was in fair condition at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Agent Angelique Cook-Hayes, a police spokeswoman, said the incident unfolded about 4 a.m. when officers were called to the 1200 block of W. Lafayette Ave. by someone who reported seeing a stolen Jeep.

Officers pulled up to see the Jeep speeding away.

Cook-Hayes said officers were unable to chase it because it was driving too fast and recklessly.

The Jeep went through a red light at North Poplar Grove and Baker streets, about two miles from where it had been stolen, and was broadsided by a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina van, the spokeswoman said.

Cook-Hayes said the impact of the collision sent the Jeep spinning into a signal support pole, which pierced the Jeep's rear cargo area and caused its gas tank to burst into flames.

She said officers were unable to reach the driver: "They made exhaustive attempts to extract the victim, but the flames and heat drove them away from the vehicle."

Police said the Jeep was first reported stolen from North Baltimore on May 10.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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