3 seriously injured in Queen Anne's car crash Florida-to-Boston driver fell asleep, hit guardrail

August 03, 1998|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A teen-ager taking family members and friends from Florida to Boston fell asleep as he drove 80 mph on U.S. 301 near Church Hill in Queen Anne's County yesterday, sending his car into a violent spin that seriously injured his grandmother and two cousins, state police at Centreville said.

Police said Christopher M. McNeil, 18, of Lake Wales, Fla., had his 1996 Chevrolet Lumina minivan set on cruise control when he began to nod off at 6: 51 a.m., just after passing the Route 302 interchange.

McNeil had been driving since leaving Lake Wales at 10 a.m. Saturday, and left himself no time for sleep and only three hours for rest, police said.

The blue minivan, which had four passengers, drifted onto the right shoulder and hit a guardrail, police said. They said passengers yelled, waking up McNeil.

The van went into a 360-degree spiral, ejecting the grandmother and McNeil's cousins, who were not wearing their seat belts, police said.

The cousins, a 15-year-old resident of Newburgh, N.Y., and a 17-year-old from Lake Wales, were in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, police said. Their names were not released, pending notification of their parents.

The grandmother, Rosemary E. Potts, 59, of Lake Wales was in serious and stable condition at Shock Trauma, police said.

They said the fourth passenger, a 17-year-old Floridian described as a friend of the driver, was treated and released from a local hospital.

Police said McNeil, the driver, was unhurt.

Pub Date: 8/03/98

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