Father seeks safety device

He says daughter may have lived if bus had bumper guard

20-year-old is mourned

Carroll County

March 27, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The father of a 20-year-old woman killed Monday after her car drove under the rear end of a bus said yesterday that the lack a protective device on the rear bumper might have contributed to his daughter's death.

Nelson Edward "Eddie" Corbin, whose daughter Melissa Nichole "Missy" Corbin died in the accident on Littlestown Pike on Monday afternoon, said such a device could keep a small car from driving under the rear of a bus. He said trucks are required to have a metal pipe in the shape of a rectangle below the end of the platform to stop cars from driving beneath.

"Her car ran all the way under [the bus] until it hit the rear axle," Eddie Corbin said. "It might not have happened if the buses were required to have a minimum bumper height. ... I do plan to do something about this."

Noting that he had helped install the restraints on trucks, Eddie Corbin vowed to fight for a law that would require similar bumper extensions on buses.

So did Pete McIver III, 25, of Finksburg, Missy Corbin's fiance. They planned to marry June 15. "I know in my heart she'd still be here if her car hadn't gone underneath," he said.

Lt. Terry L. Katz, commander of the Westminster state police barracks, confirmed that trucks and tractor-trailers of a certain height are required to have such protective devices below the rear frame - but a school bus is not.

Corbin was taking one of her dogs, Ringo, a large, woolly Australian shepherd dog, home from a Finksburg veterinarian when her Honda Civic hit the bus, which was carrying four high school students home. None of the students or the bus driver was hurt. The dog was unharmed.

Sarah Bowen, 21, of Westminster, who has known Corbin since their days at West Middle School in Westminster, said Corbin always wore her seat belt and was very careful with the car she got two months ago. "I would say, `Missy, you drive too slow,'" Bowen said.

"I've known her for years. She's my best friend," said Bowen, who was a grade ahead of Corbin at Westminster High School. "She was a wonderful person. She would bend over backwards to help you."

Corbin, Bowen said, adored Bowen's 4-month-old son, Justice Kowalski. Bowen introduced Corbin to McIver, who is her fiance's best friend.

"She was excited about being married. She wanted to have children," said Bowen, a co-manager at the Motherhood Maternity shop in the Owings Mills Town Center, where Corbin began work three weeks ago as a saleswoman.

Born in Arbutus, Corbin's family moved to Carroll County when she was 3 years old. The Corbins live near Union Mills. She was a 1999 graduate of Westminster High School.

In addition to working on the pit crew on her father's racing team, her father said she raced go-carts and won often on the dirt track.

"She grew up in a body and fender shop," he said. "She also danced: ballet, tap and jazz, and hip-hop."

She painted in oil and pastels, McIver added. The couple enjoyed cars and motorcycles, and four-wheelers.

"She could do everything. Anything a guy could do, she could do better," McIver said. "I just loved her dearly and she was a great person. She turned my life around."

Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday, her parents said.

In addition to her father and fiance, she is survived by her mother, Lisa Jensen Corbin, and brother Nicholas, 16. She is also survived by a grandmother, Jean Ernst of Eldersburg, grandfathers Richard Jensen of Palisade, Minn., and Clarence D. Corbin Jr. of Arnold, and great-grandfather Jack Jensen of Albert Lea, Minn.

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