Three people were killed and two seriously injured shortly before midnight Saturday in a single-car crash in Street in which the car was severed into multiple pieces.
The accident happened around 11:22 p.m. at Prospect Road (Route 646) and Mill Green Road, according Cpl. Dudek of the Maryland State Police.
Killed were the driver of the 2008 Mazda3, Tyler G. Anderson, 21, of the 3900 block of West Bend Drive in Jarrettsville, and passengers Shawn R. Ponton, 21, of the 3200 block of Melde Court in Jarrettsville, and Alexzandria O. McDowell, 20, of the 900 block of Holy Cross Road in Street, according to a news release from Maryland State Police.
Flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center by Medevac helicopter were Theresa M. Owensby, 19, of the 2100 block of Mark Street in Bel Air, and David E. Clark, 21, of the 1100 block of Taylor Road in Street.
As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, both Owensby and Clark were listed as in critical condition at Shock Trauma.
"They may have been returning to the home of the driver," Maryland State Police Spokesman Greg Shipley said of the crash circumstances, confirming the passengers appear to have been friends.
They appear to have been returning from "some kind of celebration," Shipley said Tuesday, but did not know where or what it was.
"At least two of the people had vehicles at his house," he said in reference to Mr. Anderson.
The car was traveling so fast that troopers and EMS personnel arrived to find it broken into two pieces that were 100 feet apart.
One half of the vehicle had fallen into a deep ravine, Dudek said.
Shipley did not know Sunday exactly how fast the car was traveling. State Police had not released a preliminary accident report as of Tuesday afternoon.
State Police at the Bel Air Barrack originally received a call from a citizen who said he observed a vehicle off the roadway.
Dudek said the 2008 Mazda3, registered to Mr. Anderson and his father, was traveling at a high rate of speed east on Prospect Road [Route 646] headed toward Route 136. There is an extreme curve and driver hit a guardrail then a tree, Dudek said, and because it was traveling so fast, the car was "severed into pieces."
The car became airborne and struck a tree on the eastbound side of the road. The force of the impact caused the vehicle to break in half.
"It's a pretty extreme accident at this point," Dudek said.
Accident reconstructionists were on the scene for several hours early Sunday. By Monday morning, people had begun to erect memorials and leave mementos near the scene. Pieces of debris car could still be seen around the area.
It is not known if alcohol was involved in the crash, according a news release State Police issued Sunday, and nothing has been ruled out in the early stages of the investigation. Because of the severe vehicle damage, troopers had been unable to determine if the occupants were wearing seat belts, the release said.
"There was no initial indication of obvious alcohol use," Shipley said Sunday. "Certainly you have to consider speed in a situation like this."
He said although the accident had been completely cleared by then, it was a complex scene that will continue to be investigated for quite a while.
"This will take weeks, if not months, to reconstruct the scene," Shipley said. "It was such a big scene that they spent all night and some of the morning [at the site].
The three deaths Saturday brought the highway death toll in Harford County for the year to at least 26, counting the death of a woman who was killed after police said she deliberately ran into traffic on I-95 near Aberdeen in August with the intention of committing suicide.
The total does not include a Havre de Grace man who was injured in a motorcycle accident in May and died from complications of the injuries in late July. State Police said his death would not be considered a motor vehicle fatality for recording purposes because it occurred more than 30 days following the accident.
There were 23 highway deaths recorded in Harford in 2011, 24 deaths in 2010 and 29 in 2009, according to State Police.
A memorial service for Ms. McDowell will be Saturday at Evans Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services - Bel Air, 3 Newport Drive in Forest Hill, from 2 to 4 p.m. Donations in Ms. McDowell's name may be made to Humane Society of Harford County, 2008 Connolly Road, Fallston, Md., 21047. Memory tributes may be sent to the family at http://www.evansfuneralchapel.com.
As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, arrangements had not been released for either Mr. Anderson or Mr. Ponton.