- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Waldorf man who drove his car into a crowd watching a pre-dawn, illegal street race over the weekend tried to stop by slamming on his brakes, a man close to the driver said yesterday.

Darren Bullock, 20, is traumatized by the accident, which killed eight persons, said James Walls, who raised Mr. Bullock from childhood.

Mr. Walls said Mr. Bullock has been “like a zombie” since the accident early Saturday along an isolated stretch of Indian Head Highway.

Mr. Bullock was driving his brother home from a band practice session shortly before 4 a.m. when he came upon the spectators standing in northbound lanes, Mr. Walls said.

Mr. Bullock jammed on his brakes, but his 1999 Ford Crown Victoria slammed into the crowd that had gathered in the road to watch two street racers speed away from the makeshift starting line.

Mr. Walls said the car’s lights were on, contrary to initial witness reports. He said Mr. Bullock does not remember seeing the smoke that witnesses said was caused by the racing cars.

“We feel sorry for the victims,” Mr. Walls said. He said Mr. Bullock is “pretty much a victim, too.”

Mr. Walls said that he was consulting with a lawyer, and that Mr. Bullock was not available for comment. Mr. Bullock was questioned by police at the scene, but no charges have been filed. Authorities are still looking for the drivers involved in the street race.

According to court records, Mr. Bullock was pulled over in May and cited for driving with a suspended license. The case is still open in Charles County District Court, with a trial date set for March 27. It was not clear whether Mr. Bullock’s license was suspended at the time of Saturday’s accident. He also was cited for driving with an unrestrained child in the car.

In 2006, Mr. Bullock pleaded guilty to malicious destruction after being accused of firing a BB gun at an ex-girlfriend’s house. He faces trial later this year in Charles County District Court on charges of stealing less than $500 from a sporting goods store.

Mr. Walls said Mr. Bullock is the father of two children, including a girl born Monday night. Mr. Bullock was not involved in street racing, and Mr. Walls said he did not think Mr. Bullock attended races.

The mangled Crown Victoria was Mr. Bullock’s “dream car” that he had purchased only a month ago, Mr. Walls said.

Mr. Bullock had only a bruised lip and his brother had only minor injuries, Mr. Walls said, but he worried that Mr. Bullock will be haunted by memories of the wreck, among the worst in recent area history, and refuse to drive again.

“This is a 20-year-old man who was just coming up the road,” Mr. Walls said. “His life is changed forever.”

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