Driver in fatal crash fled scene

He was found nearby

two dialysis patients in van died after Arundel collision Saturday

January 03, 2007|By Bradley Olson | Bradley Olson,sun reporter

A driver with a suspended license remained free yesterday after a head-on collision in Annapolis with a van that claimed the lives of two dialysis patients, authorities said yesterday.

Jason Robert Dehn, 24, fled the scene of Saturday morning's crash but was found while hiding outside the nearby county jail, Anne Arundel police said. Police said he later failed a sobriety breath test.

Dehn has not been not charged and was released pending the results of an investigation, said Lt. David Waltemeyer, a county police spokesman.

Mary Agnes Davis, 48, died yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center of injuries suffered in the crash. Terry Wright, Sr., 56, was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center shortly after the collision.

Dehn was driving a former employer's 1993 Mercedes on Admiral Drive about 5:30 a.m. when he lost control of the car at the Jennifer Road intersection and struck the van, which was taking four people to dialysis.

Dehn and his passenger, Fontaine Pridgett, 46, both of Arnold, approached the van, asked if everyone was all right and then began walking away, police said.

The van's driver, Maurice Williams, said he followed them for about 200 yards before a police dispatcher told him on his cell phone to return to the crash scene. The men barely noticed him, Williams said.

Pridgett later returned to the scene, but police found Dehn trying to hide near the Jennifer Road Detention Center.

Williams, who suffered minor injuries to his chest, knees and head, said he followed the two men out of anger.

"I had taken these patients to dialysis three days a week for five years," he said. "They were like family to me, and I was pleased when they apprehended the driver."

None of the injured passengers was restrained by a seat belt, police said, and Williams declined to comment when asked whether he knew they were unsecured.

Dehn failed a Breathalyzer test, said Cpl. Sara Schriver, a county police spokeswoman. She would not elaborate. Dehn also allegedly said that Pridgett was the driver, then told police he fled because he did not have permission to take the Mercedes.

Police added that Dehn drove the car knowing it had faulty brakes.

The car's owner, Philip McKee, said yesterday that Dehn has worked for him repairing boats, and that the vehicle was parked at his Annapolis boat yard and was being worked on by a mechanic. He said he was unaware that the brakes on the vehicle were faulty and had not driven the car in the past three or four months.

"They never had my permission, and I'm in turmoil knowing that they took the vehicle off my property and that this happened," he said.

Dehn has a lengthy criminal history in Anne Arundel County - including convictions for theft, assault and disorderly conduct - and is set to stand trial in February on a charge of assaulting a county police officer.

His lawyer in that case, County Councilman Daryl Jones, said Dehn "denies any wrongdoing" related to the assault case. Jones declined to comment on Saturday's crash, saying he was unaware of it before being contacted by a reporter.

bradley.olson@baltsun.com

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