Glen Burnie man consults a lawyer in fatal car accident

Collision with police car killed his wife and child

November 23, 1999|By Devon Spurgeon | Devon Spurgeon,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie man grieving the deaths of his wife and young daughter after a collision Friday evening with an Anne Arundel County police cruiser was making funeral arrangements yesterday and has consulted a lawyer.

The accident in Millersville killed Brandi Lynn Forney, 20, and 19-month-old Kelsi, whom Forney had picked up minutes earlier from her mother-in-law's home.

The accident occurred a few blocks from Old Mill High School, which Forney and her husband, Eric, 22, had attended. They began their relationship there as high school sweethearts, a relative said yesterday.

The driver of the police car, Officer Stephen C. Perron, 23, a two-year veteran of the county police force, was rushing to a reported armed robbery at a florist shop when his cruiser and the Forney vehicle collided.

Since the accident, Perron has been home on sick leave. "He feels terrible," said Deputy Chief Gary Barr of the county Police Department, "devastated and emotionally distraught."

Yesterday, officers posted encouraging messages for him on an unofficial county police Web site.

The passenger in the police car, Marc T. Gilbert, a Bell Atlantic executive who was riding with Perron as part of a community and business leadership training program, was unhurt, authorities said.

Griff Hall, executive director of the Leadership Anne Arundel program, said his organization plans to review its policy of having participants ride with county police. Hall said Gilbert "is thankful that he is OK" and "certainly feels for the family of all the victims involved in the accident."

Gilbert and the officer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Eric Forney declined to discuss the accident yesterday as he left his home.

His attorney, Edward J. Baines, said yesterday that he is "helping the family get through a difficult time" and waiting for the police to finish their investigation before deciding whether to file a lawsuit.

Eric Forney, who manages a Jackz Grocery store, and the former Brandi Condon married two years ago. Brandi Forney had been working at the Three B's Bakery & Lunch in Pasadena, Baines said.

On Friday evening, Brandi Forney's white Pontiac Grand Prix was struck on the driver's side by the police car -- its lights flashing and siren activated -- as she was entering Old Mill Boulevard from Old Mill Road, authorities said.

When rescuers arrived, Forney was unconscious and pinned against the steering wheel. Kelsi, strapped into her child safety seat, was in cardiac arrest in the back seat. Emergency workers cut apart the wreckage to free them.

Forney died Friday night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center; her daughter died Sunday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital Children's Center.

Police said the cruiser was exceeding the 30-mph limit on Old Mill Boulevard as Perron responded to the robbery call at Saunders Florist on Old Mill Road. Under department regulations, an officer must be "reasonable and prudent and use due caution" when responding to an emergency.

County police and the state's attorney's office were investigating the crash yesterday.

Visiting hours for the Forneys are planned for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today; and 9 a m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow, when services will be held, at McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home, 3204 Mountain Road in Pasadena.

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