Teen admits to car crash

Boy in tunnel wreck says he caused the deaths of two women

`He never stopped'

15-year-old has Oct. 16 sentencing date in juvenile court

September 09, 2000|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

Four weeks after he barreled a stolen Dodge Neon the wrong way into the Fort McHenry Tunnel, crashing head-on into another car, a 15-year-old Harford County boy yesterday admitted in court that he caused the deaths of two women.

The boy, whom The Sun is not identifying because of his age, admitted to two counts of automobile manslaughter in Baltimore's juvenile court - one for each of the dead women.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 16. Because he is a juvenile, the penalty will range from probation to detention at a juvenile facility until he is 21.

Yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Julius A. Silvestri Jr. vividly described the fatal collision for Judge David W. Young.

Silvestri said that about 6 a.m. Aug. 11, the boy, who had been released from a home for juvenile delinquents just days earlier, drove northbound through the Interstate 95 tunnel and clipped a van as it headed for a toll booth.

After hitting the van, the boy spun the Dodge around and inexplicably headed for the tunnel in the opposite direction, he said.

One of the passengers in the van remembered that the boy was not looking at the road as he sped away, Silvestri said.

"He was looking at the dashboard," Silvestri told the judge.

The boy, who does not have a driver's license, drove south into the tunnel's northbound tube at about 67 mph, swerving from side to side. Stunned drivers tried desperately to get out of his way, the prosecutor said.

Sadiat I. Olayiwola, who was traveling with two friends, saw him coming.

She turned on her hazard lights to warn him. "Oh, my God!" she heard one of her friends scream as the speeding Dodge Neon came at them.

"He never stopped, he never slowed down and the cars in the tunnel were trying to get out of the way," Silvestri said.

In an instant, Olayiwola's Toyota Corolla was crumpled, and her two friends were fighting for their lives. The two women - Adenike "Nicki" Adeniyi, 32, and Oluwasefunmi E. Apaidu, 32 - died a short time later. Olayiwola survived.

Despite concerns by the boy's mother that he had been drinking that night, tests showed that he was alcohol-free, Silvestri said.

The boy, who suffered two broken legs and a broken arm, came to court yesterday in a wheelchair. His mother was there, as were relatives of the victims.

The boy sat expressionless as the judge, his lawyer and the prosecutor worked out his fate.

He has been in the system before. He was released from the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for juvenile delinquents just days before the fatal crash.

He had been committed in May on charges of violating the terms of his release after being found responsible for three counts of first-degree burglary. He also has a pending assault charge.

When Silvestri read the account of the collision, the boy's mother cried and one of the victim's relatives winced.

"You .... did, unlawfully and in a grossly negligent manner, kill ... [the victims] by driving ... in a grossly negligent manner," Young told the boy at the end of the hearing.

He also told him he had few chances left. Reports from the Hickey School, where he is being detained, say he is "manipulative," "destructive" and "disrespectful."

"You are making it very difficult for this court to try to do what is in your best interest," Young said.

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