By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(June 25, 2020) Following the recent Black Lives Matter protests, Tyheim Bowen was inspired to start a change.org petition to raise awareness about the Nov. 8, 2013 crash that killed his brother, Tymeir Dennis.
“With everything that was going on in the world, I felt that maybe I could try to get justice for my brother,” Bowen said.
Maryland State Trooper Nicholas Hager was driving an unmarked car on Route 113 at about 8:02 p.m. when he struck Bowen and Dennis on Bay Street as they were walking from Uncle Willie’s convenience store on Flower Street.
After the accident, Hager returned to work on Nov. 12, 2013 and was not charged for Dennis’ death.
“At the end of the day, the man still got to go home with his family, and I lost somebody that I’ll never be able to see again,” Bowen said.
Dennis, 16, was pronounced dead at Atlantic General Hospital. Bowen, 17, sustained injuries to his pelvis and right arm as well as injuries to his right leg that led to amputation.
He had to walk with a cane at first to adjust to the prosthetic leg as his other injuries healed.
“One of my biggest goals ever since I’ve lost my leg … is to learn how to run,” Bowen said. “I don’t know how to run again yet, but I’ll get there.”
Bowen is also training for powerlifting with the goal to qualify for nationals and compete in the Paralympics.
“I’m just trying to live my best life and do great for my kids (my 1-year-old son Tymeir, who is named after his uncle, and my daughter who is due in September) and my brother,” Bowen said.
Since the accident, Bowen has struggled with survivor’s guilt.
“It did ruin my life,” Bowen said. “After my brother had passed away, I didn’t really want to be here no more. I had thoughts in my head that it was my fault. I still have thoughts in my head that it was my fault.”
He is hopeful that the petition will reopen the court case and lead to punishment for Hager.
“I know he didn’t do it purposely, but it happened, and I feel like he has to deal with the consequences like everybody else,” Bowen said.
The day Bowen launched the petition, it received more than 1,000 signatures, he said.
As of Wednesday morning, it received 2,926 signatures.
“I appreciate all the people that signed the petition. That means a lot to me and my brother and my family,” Bowen said.
Although Bowen now lives in Millsboro with his girlfriend, Bridgett, and son, he also hopes the petition will increase concern about pedestrian safety in Berlin and lead to changes on Route 113.
Next, Bowen plans to contact Mayor Gee Williams and Gov. Larry Hogan for support.
“I just want justice for my brother’s name because, you know, what happened to us wasn’t right,” Bowen said.
The Maryland State Police responded with the following statement: “We certainly recognize the pain and suffering endured by the family and friends of all the individuals involved in this tragic incident. A thorough investigation was conducted and reviewed by the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office. All legal proceedings have concluded and we are not aware of any grounds for reopening the case.”