Chicago man, 75, charged in head-on crash 6 injured after driver makes U-turn on Route 175 in Columbia

A 75-year-old Illinois man who was in a head-on collision after making a U-turn on Route 175 in Columbia on Monday afternoon has been charged in the accident, which injured six people.

Howard County police said Steve Petrovich of Chicago was charged with negligent driving and failure to drive on the right side of a divided highway.


"It was probably just a matter of being lost and confused," said Officer Scott Wichtendahl of the traffic enforcement section, which is investigating the accident.

About 3:05 p.m. Monday, Mr. Petrovich and three passengers were driving east on Route 175 in a light blue 1993 Ford Taurus when police say Mr. Petrovich turned around and drove west in the eastbound passing lane.


Mr. Petrovich's Taurus, a rental car with Virginia license tags, crashed head-on into a 1992 Nissan Stanza driven by Leonard Leon Dempsey, 29, of the 5700 block of Yellowrose Court in Columbia's Long Reach village.

Mr. Dempsey was listed in fair and stable condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

His passenger, Jonathan S. Ryan, 24, of the same address, was treated at Howard County General Hospital and released yesterday.

Mr. Petrovich and his front-seat passenger, Branislav Radenkovic, 67, of Berwyn, Ill., were listed in good condition at the Howard County General Hospital yesterday.

Front-seat air bags saved the two from more serious injury, Howard County Fire and Rescue officials said.

Two back-seat passengers in Mr. Petrovich's car were severely injured, apparently because they were not wearing seat belts, county police said.

Radmila Vukcevich, 76, of the 10000 block of Hickory Ridge Road, Columbia, was listed in serious but stable condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Novak Vukcevich, 84, of the same address was listed in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.