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MSP Crash Team investigates details of Nov. 8 fatal accident

12/5/13

BERLIN—The Maryland State Police Crash Team is investigating details relating to the Nov. 8 crash that killed 16 year-old Tymeir Dennis and severely injured his 18 year-old brother Tyheim Bowen, and has until early January to complete a full review of the incident, according to Trooper First Class Chris Davala, assistant commander of the MSP’s Berlin Barrack.

Davala said there had been a slight delay in the investigation because officials initially had difficulty locating the mother of the brothers, because she had been attending to her surviving son, who had been transported to Baltimore.

The mother, Tynise Bowen, of Berlin, was a witness at the scene of the accident, which occurred when her sons were struck by an unmarked police car, driven by MSP Trooper Nicholas Hager, at the intersection of Route 113 and Bay Street.

Davala acknowledged that MSP officials were trying to be sensitive to the emotional nature of the mother’s involvement with her older son’s medical care and respectful of the family’s time of bereavement. The interview with the mother has since been completed, he confirmed.

Once the investigation has been completed a Detailed Crash Investigation Report will be submitted to the Crash Team supervisor for review and possible revisions, according to Davala. The process takes on average as long as 90 days from the time of the incident, he said.

Trooper Hager has been reinstated and is back on duty, Davala said.

Meanwhile, Del. Michael McDermott, whose district includes the area where the accident occurred contacted Donnie Drewer, District 1 engineer for the State Highway Administration, in an effort to discuss options to address the traffic safety problems at the intersection.

During a Dec. 4 interview, McDermott recalled a similar pedestrian safety problem that led to crashes in Pocomoke in the late 1990s and early 2000’s, in the proximity of what was then a newly constructed Wal-Mart. As Pocomoke’s mayor at the time, McDermott said he met with Wal-Mart representatives to discuss ways to increase pedestrian safety for residents who were attempting to shop at the store.

As a result, McDermott said the SHA created a controlled intersection by decreasing the speed limit from 55 miles-per-hour to 50 mph, extending the existing sidewalks, installing a crosswalk, and creating designated pedestrian crossing areas—all of which were required precursors to installing countdown clocks where pedestrian traffic had then been directed.

“It was a mirror image of the situation in Berlin,” he said.

McDermott also suggested enhancing or erecting additional barriers along the boundary of Henry Park, to discourage individuals from crossing at unsafe areas.

Patricia Dufendach, who is a member of the recently organized US 113 Citizens Subcommittee, had contacted McDermott and Sen. James Mathias for their assistance and attempted to make a presentation on the matter before the Worcester County Commissioners during their Dec. 3 meeting.

Public comments, however, are not an agenda item for commissioners meetings. The subcommittee is pushing forward with a public pedestrian safety campaign.   Town-endorsed buttons are being created with the message “Slow Down in Our Town,” to raise awareness about the need to lower the speed on Route 113 through the Town of Berlin.

Mathias said he supported the subcommittee’s endeavors to make the Route 113 highway safer and had strongly urged Drewer to work with the pedestrian safety advocates. 

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