It could take as long as 30 days before police investigating Monday's deadly crash on Route 543 near Bel Air know for certain what happened.
While they think they have a pretty good preliminary idea of what caused the crash, investigators want to take their time to sift through all the information they have, Lt. Chuck Moore, commander of the Maryland State Police Bel Air Barrack, said Wednesday.
"Sometimes, it's not what we thought it was," Moore said. "We think we have a pretty good idea, but we don't want to jump to conclusions."
The state police CRASH team is investigating the crash in which three siblings – David Bauguess, 29, Ashley Bauguess, 24, and Joseph Bauguess, 17, all of the 1300 block of Marquis Court in Fallston – were killed around 10 p.m. on Route 543 just south of Wheel Road near Bel Air.
Investigators believe their car, a 2003 Chevy Cavalier, crossed the double yellow center lines and sideswiped a 2010 Toyota sedan, which sent the Cavalier into a counter-clockwise spin into the northbound lanes, where it was T-boned by a 2007 Acura sedan. The driver and passenger in the Toyota were not injured, but the two men in the Acura were taken by ambulance to Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.
"It's a mess, debris everywhere," Moore said of the crash site.
Preliminary investigation showed that it was the Cavalier that crossed the center line and hit the Toyota, making it the at-fault vehicle in the crash. But before an official determination is made, the CRASH team investigators look at all the information collected from the crash site.
"They analyze everything, the crush in the cars, tire skid marks, yaw marks, they look at all the marks and they're able to get speeds," Moore said.
The night of the crash, investigators set up a total station at the site, which Moore likened to a survey crew, in which one trooper was taking input from someone at another part of the scene. They were recording distances, marks and other information that gives them a scaled diagram on the scene that they will use once they leave there.
While investigators are fairly certain of the cause, Monday's crash has been a difficult one for them to investigate, not because of the details of the accident, but because of the age of the victims.
"It's difficult in the fact that they're all kids, because that does impact us, it does affect us," Moore said. "We suppress it at the scene, but later on, it's something we have to think about, so as far as difficulty, it's one of the worst in a long time."
The crash has had an effect on the police, dispatchers and emergency personnel who responded Monday night. A team of psychologists assembled by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems met Tuesday night at Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company with some of those affected.
"It's a forum where everyone talks about what they saw, what they felt, with someone there to moderate for them," Rich Gardiner, spokesman for Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association, said Wednesday.
Gardiner said about 10 people from the county's 911 Center, the Harford County Sheriff's Office and Bel Air Volunteer Fire company attended.
"It's a way for them to express their feelings, discuss what they saw, to someone who understands what they're talking about," Gardiner said.
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