Excessive speed called factor in crashes that killed 2, hurt 1

Police say risky driving by youths is a problem

Anne Arundel

October 19, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County police say that excessive speed was a factor in two weekend crashes that left two 25-year-old Crofton men dead and an Odenton teenager critically injured.

Police said Van Kory Wyckoff and Stephen Michael Menosky were killed when Wyckoff's 2000 Honda Accord struck a tree just after midnight yesterday. The men were pronounced dead at the scene.

Matthew Clinton McKnew, 17, was critically injured in a one-car crash Friday evening on Gambrills Road.

Police said the crashes - which follow a string of similar ones in Montgomery County - illustrate the problem of risk-taking among young drivers.

In Montgomery County, five teenagers and two 21-year-olds have been killed in recent crashes involving inexperienced drivers and excessive speed. Several others were critically injured in those crashes, and Montgomery police have said they are investigating whether some of the victims were street or drag racing.

In Anne Arundel yesterday, police warned of the dangers of speed.

When "exceeding the speed limit, the faster you're going the more damage you're going to do," in a crash, said county police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Urbas.

Police said Wyckoff was traveling west about 12:15 a.m. yesterday on Defense Highway when he lost control of his car and struck a tree. The vehicle split in two, killing Wyckoff and his passenger, Menosky.

The men were wearing seat belts, police said. The report listed speed as the main factor in the crash, although authorities did not say yesterday how fast the car was traveling.

The other crash occurred at twilight Friday.

Police said McKnew was traveling "well above" the posted 30-mph speed limit on the two-lane road.

Police said he illegally passed two cars before losing control of his vehicle, which crashed into a telephone pole and a tree.

The front of the car was crushed, and McKnew, who was not wearing his seat belt, suffered massive head trauma and multiple internal injuries when he was thrown into the windshield.

After being removed by a team of county firefighters, he was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

McKnew was listed in critical condition last night.

Both accidents are being investigated, police said.

Clusters of fatal crashes involving young drivers have caused concern in the Baltimore region.

In late 2000, two Howard County teenagers were killed within a week. One's car struck a telephone pole and the other's hit a tree. Police said excessive speed was a factor in both crashes.

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