Collision kills 3, including wives of academy grads


The wives of two Naval Academy graduates were among the three people killed yesterday in a head-on crash in southern Anne Arundel County as they headed home with their husbands from a commemorative event, authorities said.

Authorities said the husbands were members of the Naval Academy Class of 1952, and had attended a program involving a 50-year linkage with the academy's Class of 2002.

The couples -- both from the Virginia suburbs of Washington -- were headed south on Solomons Island Road (Route 2) about 3: 30 p.m. in a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville that collided with a 1995 GMC Safari minivan, said county spokeswoman Lisa Ritter.

"Both vehicles crossed the center line," Ritter said, adding that the crash occurred on a slight curve near Marys Mount Road in Harwood.

Declared dead at the scene were Martha Califf, 68, of Alexandria, and Margaret Keane, 69, of Arlington -- wives of the academy graduates -- as well as Shirley Wells, 59, of Lothian, the wife of the minivan driver.

The injured were identified as the driver of the Pontiac, 68-year-old Toxey Califf, and his academy classmate James Keane, 69, both flown by helicopter to the trauma center at Prince George's Hospital Center.

The driver of the van, Robert Wells, age unknown, was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The wives all were sitting in right-passenger seats in the vehicles, Ritter said.

Ritter said that police had not determined why both vehicles had crossed the center line, and that the accident remained under investigation.

The accident closed the road for three hours, police said.

The graduates and their wives apparently had attended the Naval Academy's Parents Weekend -- the first major event for parents and alumni to see the Class of 2002 since the cadets began "Plebe Summer" training July 1.

Pub Date: 8/09/98

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