A Morgan State University senior who was one of two college students killed in a car accident Thursday night in Fells Point most likely went through a red light while speeding, according to Baltimore police.
The preliminary investigation, based on witness accounts, reveals that 23-year-old Julian Benson, who was driving Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle, was at fault in the crash, said Detective Jeremy Silbert, a city police spokesman.
Also killed was Zoey Crumpton, 18, a passenger in a Mitsubishi Eclipse that was broadsided by the SUV. The Baltimore resident was a 2011 graduate of Bryn Mawr School and had just enrolled in the nursing program at Stevenson University.
Crumpton was riding with her boyfriend of two years, Devon Turner, 19, who police said was heading east on Bank Street when struck by the northbound SUV. The accident occurred about 10:30 p.m. in the normally crowded entertainment area — and three blocks from where Turner lived. He used a cellphone to call his father, who rushed to the scene.
"My son and his girlfriend didn't have a chance," the father, William Turner, said on Saturday. "They were going to be together the rest of their lives. I don't know how my son will survive this emotionally."
Turner expressed anger at what he called "reckless behavior" and "disregard for traffic laws," and said "stupidity needlessly cut two lives short." He said Crumpton died in his son's arms. Police said both victims were pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Turner expects his son to make a full recovery.
Devon Turner graduated from Calvert Hall College High School and is in the process of transferring from Dundalk Community College to Salisbury University, his father said. He works at the Elkridge Country Club.
Many details of how the accident occurred remain under investigation. The police spokesman, Silbert, said that a final accident report has not been completed. Autopsy results also are pending, which could determine whether alcohol played a role.
Benson, who was two classes shy of graduating from Morgan, was the university's 2010 homecoming king, Mr. Morgan. He mentored young students and interned in public relations with the Maryland Transit Administration. He is credited with coming up with the agency's marketing slogan, "Ride, Respect, Relax."
Court records show that Benson was found guilty in June 2010 of speeding 30 mph over the posted limit on Harford Road in Parkville and fined $47. At the time of his death, he had two other traffic tickets pending in court — driving without a seat belt on Interstate 95 in June and driving 57 mph in a 30-mph zone on Harford Road in Parkville in May.
Benson's relatives could not be reached for comment Friday and Saturday. Turner said the Crumpton family was making funeral arrangements and did not wish to speak to a reporter.