Four killed in Fri­day car ac­ci­dents

Three teens, young mother per­ish in sin­gle-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

Four peo­ple were killed, one se­ri­ously in­jured, in three sep­a­rate sin­gle ve­hi­cle crashes on Fri­day in Charles County, ac- cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

Colin Bi­pat, 17, and Des­mond Cooke, 17, both of Wal­dorf were killed in a col­li­sion in the early after­noon. The third oc- cu­pant, Caleb Mar­shall, 18, of Wal­dorf, re­mains hos­pi­tal­ized with se­ri­ous in­juries.

Akeema James, 25, of La Plata died in the hos­pi­tal af­ter crash­ing into a tree in the late after­noon.

Ken­dull B. Proc­tor, 18, of Wal­dorf crashed in the late evening and died at the scene.

Small­wood Drive West and St. Ni­cholas Drive

Around 12:34 p.m. on Fri­day, po­lice re­sponded to the in­ter­sec­tion of Small­wood Drive West and St. Ni­cholas Drive in Wal­dorf for a re­ported ac­ci­dent and found that a car with three West­lake High School se­niors

in­side had crashed into a traf­fic light pole.

The driver, Bi­pat, and the back seat passenger, Cooke, were killed in the ac­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to a Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice spokesper­son. Mar­shall, 18, the front seat passenger, was flown to the hos­pi­tal with crit- ical in­juries, though his con­di­tion has im­proved.

Wit­nesses told inves- tiga­tors that the car — trav­el­ing at a high rate of speed — swerved to avoid traf­fic stopped at the in­ter­sec­tion, and crashed into the pole. The col­li­sion caused the car’s en­gine block to sep­a­rate, which then came to rest at the other end of the in­ter­sec­tion.

Po­lice closed the road­way from Mall Circle to St. Pa­trick’s Drive for about four hours while a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted. Med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers were called to the scene.

The three oc­cu­pants of the car were all well­liked stu­dents, ex­pected to grad­u­ate in June, Prin­ci­pal Michael Meiser told the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent. “It hit the school pretty hard to have to deal with this loss,” he said. “Both kids were re­ally good kids that were in­volved, and had a good stand­ing in the school. It’s go­ing to hit the kids hard.”

Meiser de­scribed Cooke as a stu­dent who of­ten had a smil­ing face, a happy de­meanor and a good circle of friends.

Bi­pat, he said, was in most re­spects a quiet stu­dent, a good kid with a lot of friends at school. He was en­rolled in West­lake’s ca­reer readi­ness de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, which al­lowed him to be re­leased early from school to build vo­ca­tional skills.

Mar­shall, who re­mains se­ri­ously in­jured in the hos­pi­tal, had been at­tend­ing the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land full-time through West­lake’s col­lege waiver pro­gram, the prin­ci­pal said, and had al­ready met the high school grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ment.

U.S. 301 and Gille­spie Circle

Around 5:40 p.m., Akeema James was trav­el­ing south­bound on U.S. 301 north of Gille­spie Circle with her two chil­dren, 4 and 6, when her car veered off the right side of the road­way, ac­cord­ing to Mary­land State Po­lice. Her ve­hi­cle struck a curb, went air­borne and crashed into a tree on the driver’s side.

James was trapped in- side the wreck­age and had to be ex­tri­cated by first re­spon­ders be­fore she was air­lifted to a hos- pital, where she later suc- cumbed to her in­juries a few hours later, au­thori- ties re­ported. Both chil- dren — re­strained in child safety seats — sur­vived the ac­ci­dent and were treated and re­leased from the hos­pi­tal. Po­lice be- lieve the crash was caused by driver er­ror and speed.

An­gela James, her mother, spoke of her lov- ing daugh­ter, a mother of two and the old­est of five sib­lings. “She was a beau­ti­ful per­son in­side and out,” she told the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent. “... Her per­son­al­ity is so bub­bly. Any­time she walked in a room she lit it up. Her smile, she loved tak­ing pic­tures. She was just a very vi­brant per- son.”

Akeema, she said, was also very hard­work­ing. While tak­ing care of her chil­dren, she had been fur­ther­ing her ed­u­ca­tion and work­ing full-time as a med­i­cal as­sis­tant at Right­time Med­i­cal Care in Wal­dorf.

St. Peter’s Church Road

Around 11:54 p.m., sher­iff’s of­fice deputies re­sponded to the 3200 block of St. Peter’s Church Road in Wal­dorf for a re­ported crash, a press re­lease states. Po­lice de­ter­mined that Ken­dull Proc­tor, driv­ing alone in a Honda Ac­cord, had been trav­el­ing south­bound when he lost con­trol of the car at a curve, left the road and crashed into a tree. He was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

The scene of the crash early Fri­day after­noon at Small­wood Drive West and St. Ni­cholas Drive in Wal­dorf. The three oc­cu­pants were se­niors at West­lake High School; two died, and one re­mains in the hos­pi­tal with se­ri­ous in­juries.

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

The scene of the crash on Fri­day in Wal­dorf that left two teens dead and one se­ri­ously in­jured.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Akeema James, 25, of La Plata crashed into a tree in the area of U.S. 301 north of Gille­spie Circle and later suc­cumbed to her in­juries.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Akeema James

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