Suspect in drag-race death arrested Third driver charged with auto manslaughter, assault in fatal collision


A third suspect accused in a fatal drag race near Finksburg that killed a Mount Airy Middle School teacher June 1 was arrested yesterday on auto manslaughter and assault charges.

Mark E. Eppig, 22, of the first block of Chase St. in Westminster was released on an unsecured $25,000 bond.

Eppig was charged with manslaughter in the death of Geraldine Lane "Geri" Wu, 42, of Westminster and with the second-degree assault of Min-li Wu, 14, a passenger in her mother's car. The girl was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she was treated and released the next day.

Eppig also was charged with two counts of reckless driving, negligent driving, participating in a speed contest, exceeding 85 mph in a posted 55 mph zone, failing to drive in a reasonable and prudent manner, passing unsafely and failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision.

According to charging documents, witnesses told police that three men were racing east along Route 140 when a 1991 Nissan driven by Eppig went out of control, crossed the grass median and slammed head-on into Wu's 1997 Mitsubishi.

Frederick H. Hensen Jr., 21, of the 700 block of Old Westminster Pike in Westminster and Scott D. Broadfoot Sr., 25, of the 8600 block of Oak Road in Parkville were arrested two weeks ago on negligent auto manslaughter charges for participating in the race, which under state law is considered a speed contest, prosecutors said.

Eppig, who was seriously injured in the collision, and has undergone back surgery, did not appear yesterday before Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr.

Prosecutor Theresa M. Adams asked Burns to set bail for Eppig at 10 percent of $25,000, the same bail granted the co-defendants.

Attorney Joseph Murtha, who is representing Eppig, told Burns that his client waived his right to appear at the bail hearing because he has had two vertebrae fused and is encased in a body cast.

Murtha asked Burns for an unsecured bail, which the judge granted, because Eppig is in no condition to try to flee from prosecution.

Pub Date: 6/25/98

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