The six-foot white crosses at the intersection of Saint Margaret's and Busch's Frontage roads arrest the eye, raise the question: What happened here?
Carmela Dale Malone, 33, and Anne Kristen Davis, 12, both of Arnold, died in separate car wrecks at this intersection. The two crosses and newly-planted flowers preserve their memory and warn drivers to slow down, to be careful.
Last Saturday, more than 500 people, including Anne Arundel County Council chairwoman Diane L. Evans, state Del. Phil Bissett, and state Sen. John C. Astle, participated in the dedication ceremony. They came to remember the deaths and to stand with the families.
"She will be missed, but never forgotten," Oliver Glen Malone Jr. said of his wife, who was known to friends and family as "Candy."
Susan Edkins, who came up with the idea for a memorial last July, said of her daughter, Anne, "It's going to take us a lifetime to know that it's OK to laugh or have fun without Anne . . . [But] this memorial is good for the grieving process."
Twelve crab apple trees -- one for every year Anne lived -- and a garden of her favorite flowers, including black-eyed susans, daffodils, and tiger lillies, are planted at the site. Brightly colored chrysanthemums surround the cross for Mrs. Malone.
Anne Davis, affectionately called "Annie," died Oct. 30, 1993, of injuries suffered the day before when a Ford pickup rammed her mother's minivan. The driver, Thomas Francis George of Annapolis, was under the influence of alcohol at the time and was later ordered to spend two months in jail, four months on home detention and complete 400 hours of community service.
Mrs. Malone, 33, was killed Aug. 21, when she drove into the intersection and was struck by a Toyota pickup truck driven by Horst Michael Sodemann, 31, of Annapolis. He was not charged in the accident.
The deaths intensified residents' complaints about the intersection's danger. Until Friday, there was only one pair of stop signs at the intersection.
Melody Hans, who was visiting a friend on Holly Drive, said cars frequently ignored the posted 40 mph speed limit on St. Margaret's Road and narrowly missed hitting cars entering from Busch's Frontage Road.
"It's just like a free-for-all here," said the 28-year-old Arnold woman. "People coming off of Route 50 had to take their chances and go."
State Highway Administration officials changed that Friday when they made the intersection a four-way stop. A large electronic billboard on the eastbound side of St. Margaret's Road reminds motorists of the stop signs.
Kristene Bevans, SHA spokeswoman, said the department didn't install the added stop signs because traffic on the raod was minimal and there were few incidents. Residents' concerns eventually persuaded the department to act.
"We decided that this was something we could do for the community," Ms. Bevans said. "I think it will make a difference."
The state's action does little to ease the anguish that Glen Malone, a 39-year-old home improvement contractor, feels for his four children, who must now grow up without a mother, and for himself. He has to go on without the woman who was his "best friend."
"It doesn't relieve the pain for me," he said. "She was caring, loving, the type of person who would do anything for anybody. . . . She was the perfect person."
For Mrs. Edkins, the pain is still there two years after Annie's death. It's made harder by the sight of Annie's friends growing up.
"I see them, and I still wonder about her first kiss, her prom, her wedding," Mrs. Edkins whispered. "I'm still in a fog."
She hopes the tribute to her daughter and Mr. Malone's wife will help the families overcome the depression and learn to live with their loss.
"It doesn't matter that Annie was killed by a drunk driver two years ago or that Mrs. Malone died two months ago. There's a lot of grieving going on out there," Mrs. Edkins said. "We still need this release."