- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2012

An off-duty Prince George's County police officer died Thursday after his cruiser collided with another vehicle and hit a utility pole in Clinton, marking the second time in two months that a county officer has been killed in a car crash.

The man was identified as Police Officer First Class Kevin Bowden, a six-year veteran of the department assigned to patrol in District 4.

The collision occurred around 3:05 p.m. at the intersection of Branch Avenue and Surratts Road. The officer and a woman driving a white minivan were both taken to hospitals. The woman’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Prince George's County Police Chief Mark A. Magaw made the announcement of the officer’s death at a news conference Thursday evening at Southern Maryland Hospital Center, which is located at the intersection where the crash occurred.

Officer Bowden, a 28-year-old father of two, was driving northbound on Branch Avenue when the collision occurred. Officer Bowden had finished his shift at 1 p.m. and was driving his cruiser as part of the department’s take-home car program, Chief Magaw said.

“We have witnesses saying that the officer was cut off, but we’re not at the point yet to say that’s what caused the accident,” Chief Magaw said. “Certainly we are looking into that.”

Images from the scene showed the cruiser sheared nearly in half by the utility pole, its airbags deployed. The white minivan nearby was missing its hood, the front-end was crumpled and its engine was exposed.

Vincent Canales, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89, called Officer Bowden’s death a tragedy.

“Yet again in the past two months we’ve lost another officer, and all my members are basically hurting, trying to heal through this process, trying to wrap their heads around what took place and get an understanding of how this happened,” he said.

The collision comes nearly two months after a Prince George's County police officer died during a car chase.

Officer Adrian Morris, 23, was pursuing two men in a stolen Acura TL down Interstate 95 when he lost control of his car and drove it into a ditch.

Morris was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the cruiser. He died from severe head trauma. Officer Michael Risher, who was also in the car at the time and was wearing a seat belt, survived.

Before Morris’ death, the last Prince George’s County officer to die in the line of duty also died in a car crash. Officer Thomas P. Jensen, 27, died in March 2010 after his car hit a patch of ice as he was responding to a burglar alarm and struck a utility pole. Jensen was taken to a hospital in critical condition following the Feb. 27 crash and died 10 days later.

“This is a sad day in Prince George’s County and for the police department,” said Barry Stanton, the county’s deputy chief administrative office for public safety. “Losing another officer, it’s not an easy day.”