Police charge truck driver with manslaughter in crash

2 women fatally injured in Howard accident

April 05, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

The driver of a truck whose trailer swung into oncoming traffic, sparking a crash that killed two Clarksville women, was charged yesterday with manslaughter.

Howard County police also accused Harold Dewayne Kitchens, 27, of Hot Springs, Ark., of failing to properly secure the load on a flatbed trailer -- two large pieces of construction equipment, one of which came loose and toppled onto Clarksville Pike (Route 108) during rush hour Tuesday.

A Toyota Corolla driven by 67-year-old Sue Marie Miller crashed into a trencher that landed in the road, and a Dodge Grand Caravan driven by 49-year-old Jacqueline Cormier Jenkins slammed into the trailer and second piece of equipment head-on, police said.

Miller and Jenkins were taken to area hospitals, where they later died, police said.

Jenkins' 13-year-old daughter was treated for minor injuries and released from Howard County General Hospital shortly after the crash, which was reported about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Two vehicles that managed to skirt the truck or stop before colliding with its hit some debris in the road. The occupants of those vehicles were not injured, police said.

According to charging documents, Kitchens was towing the trailer eastbound on Clarksville Pike west of Manorstone Lane when the trailer swung across the center line into the westbound lane.

Kitchens told police he was living in Maryland "while working," according to charging documents.

What work Kitchens was doing in the county was unclear yesterday. An official with General Construction Services of Greenbrier, Ark., the owner of the truck, did not return calls for comment.

Kitchens was charged with two counts of negligent manslaughter by automobile -- each of which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison -- and six driving offenses ranging from speeding to failure to prevent the load from coming loose.

He was released after posting $75,000 bond.

Kitchens had been scheduled to appear in Howard County District Court yesterday on an unrelated weapons charge, but that case was postponed.

In the early morning of Feb. 3, Kitchens was walking along Ellicott Mills Drive when a county police officer stopped to question him. He was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon -- a knife with a five-inch blade.

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