The recent fatal vehicle crash involving a Dunkirk, Maryland, teen is a sad reminder of how quickly a young life can be lost in a traffic accident. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that the young girl’s vehicle was hit by a Calvert County Sheriff’s cruiser on the way to what authorities term a priority assignment. The accident occurred on MD Route 4, also known as Southern Maryland Boulevard, in the late morning of July 24.
Being an automobile accident attorney practicing in Maryland, I respect the dedication of our state’s law enforcement professionals when it comes to protecting the public. At the same time, I cannot help but feel sadness for the family of this 18-year-old girl who died so tragically.
Because the accident involved one of their own deputies, the Calvert Country Sheriff’s office requested that the Anne Arundel County Police Department and the Maryland State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the events leading up to the crash.
According to reports, Rachael Alexandra Campbell was driving a 1997 Buick LeSabre southbound on Route 4 and was preparing to make a left turn onto eastbound Apple Way into the Apple Green Subdivision. Whether the teen saw the police cruiser heading northbound at what must have been a high rate of speed will never be known, but the police investigation indicates that the officer, Deputy C. W. Wells, had his emergency lights on as he approached the intersection.
Ms. Campbell allegedly turned left in front of the oncoming cruiser leaving no time for officer Wells to avoid a crash. The police car hit the Buick in a t-bone type of collision, with the cruiser smashing in the right side of victim’s car at the near-center of the passenger compartment.
The impact was so severe that the victim’s car was hurled from the intersection, ending up in a grassy area on the east side of the roadway where it caught fire. Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene.
The force of the impact also caused the police cruiser to roll over and come to rest also on the east side of the road. When rescue personnel arrived they found the officer pinned inside his vehicle. He was removed and transported to Baltimore Shock Trauma with life-threatening injuries. He was released from the hospital several days later, according to the sheriff’s office.
Accidents like this can happen out of the blue. If you or someone you love is a victim of an automobile accident, either through another person’s negligence or as a result of defective equipment, I highly recommend that you contact a qualified legal profession to evaluate your potential case. You may have grounds for monetary compensation to cover medical costs and other damages.
Teen Motorist Dead after Being Hit by Calvert Deputy’s Car, SoMd.com, July 27, 2009