Woman dies in crash with police car

Officer was speeding to robbery call in Millersville

November 20, 1999|By Devon Spurgeon | Devon Spurgeon,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County police officer -- speeding to a robbery call with a local business executive on a civilian ride-a-long -- slammed into another vehicle at 5: 05 p.m. in Millersville yesterday, killing the driver and severely injuring her 2-year-old daughter, according to police.

Steve Perron, a two-year veteran, was following another police cruiser rushing to a reported robbery at Saunders Florist in Millersville when the accident occurred.

The mother -- identified by police as 20-year-old Brandi Forney of Glen Burnie -- died at 9: 45 p.m. at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Forney's daughter, Kelsey Forney, was taken to Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital in Baltimore. She was in critical condition last night. Police said Kelsey had been strapped into a car safety seat.

Perron and his passenger, Bell Atlantic executive Marc Gilbert, were treated and released at North Arundel Hospital.

Gilbert was one of several community and business leaders traveling with county police last night as part of the Leadership Arundel program.

Perron was westbound on Old Mill Boulevard with his emergency lights and siren on when he hit Forney's white Pontiac Grand Prix as she was making a left turn from Old Mill Road, police said.

The police cruiser hit the driver's side of the Pontiac, which spun out of control, hit a no parking sign and crashed into a grass embankment. The speed limit on Old Mill Boulevard is 30 mph. Police said Perron was traveling much faster.

"It was a big boom, and the car just started squealing," said Lee Sylvia, 17, a senior at Old Mill High School, who was walking nearby at the time.

Emergency crews and a half-dozen police cars arrived on the scene at 5: 08 p.m. Officers were upset, some teary-eyed, as they attempted to help the victims and direct traffic around the wreck.

When rescuers arrived, Forney was unconscious and pinned against the steering wheel. She and Kelsey were cut out of the car. Kelsey was rushed by ambulance to North Arundel Hospital before being transferred to Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Officer Charles Ravenell, a police spokesman, would not say how fast Perron was traveling.

Under department regulations, an officer must be "reasonable and prudent and use due caution" when responding to an emergency.

Gilbert is participating in a yearlong training program that provides county officials, activists and business people with an in-depth view of local government services. The group meets monthly and spends evenings at homeless shelters, with police and with other government services.

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