Five people died and a man was seriously injured in car accidents on county highways last week, a number that has state and local police cautioning residents to be careful during their holiday travel next weekend.
Police warn that they will be increasing the number of officers on the road to look for drunken drivers and speeders Labor Day weekend.
"We strongly urge people to be more cautious," said Sgt. Laura Lu Herman, a spokeswoman for the state police. "Holidays are associated with parties and family gatherings, and sometimes there's alcohol. Some holidays fall on a weekend, which are already associated with drinking."
Police issued their warning after a week in which three people died in one night as a result of speeding, drinking or not wearing a seat belt. A fourth was trapped in an overturned car, and in the fifth fatality, a Baltimore woman stepped onto a busy road and was hit Thursday, county police said.
Nathan Wells, 18, of the 900 block of Royal St. in Annapolis and Kenneth Savoy, 22, of the 600 block of Island Creek Court in Annapolis were killed on Interstate 97 about 10: 45 p.m. Aug. 18 when Wells lost control of his vehicle, which slammed into a retaining wall.
The two men, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the vehicle and run over by other cars. A passenger, who was wearing a seat belt, received minor injuries.
A second accident about the same time killed Matthew Brian Brooks, 29, of the 200 block of Windy Ridge Court in Pasadena.
Brooks suffered fatal head and internal injuries when he lost control of his 1992 Nissan Sentra on Route 100 just west of Lake Waterford Road and slammed into several trees, police said. He also was not wearing a seat belt.
"We want all occupants in the vehicle to wear safety belts," said Cpl. Ron Hines, a county police spokesman. "The man who survived the I-97 accident was wearing a seat belt, and the other two didn't. That certainly should send a message to the motoring public."
Charles Lewis Heil, 56, of the 6900 block of Alter St. in Baltimore died Wednesday when his 1991 Toyota collided head-on with another car on the Baltimore Beltway and flipped into a ravine.
Helen McCracken, 49, of the 800 block of Cherry Hill Road in Baltimore was fatally injured Thursday when she was struck by a car as she tried to cross a busy section of Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver and passenger in the Toyota Tercel that hit her were not injured.
Police offered these suggestions for road safety:
Wear a safety belt and always buckle in children.
If you drive, don't drink. If you drink, have a designated driver or make arrangements to stay the night wherever you are.
Obey the speed limit.
Drive defensively. If you see another person driving erratically -- drifting from lane to lane, hugging the shoulder, speeding up and breaking, driving with the headlights off or driving too slowly -- let that driver have the right of way.
Be especially cautious at intersections, even if you have the right way. Give other drivers a few seconds to stop at a red light.
Pub Date: 8/25/96