- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WOODLAWN, Md. | Authorities said Monday that they may explore rumble strips, cameras and other ways to slow down amateur speedsters on Maryland roads after two people were killed in what police believe was a crash caused by an illegal drag race.

“This is something the state police and State Highway Administration want to consider together,” said Sgt. Arthur Betts, a Maryland State Police spokesman.

SHA spokesman David Buck said rumble strips — raised bumps on a road’s surface that encourage drivers to slow down — were a possible solution.

Two people were killed and two injured early Sunday when a car crashed into a vehicle on the westbound side of Interstate 70. Witnesses told police a crowd had gathered to watch a drag race where the highway, comes to an abrupt end.

Investigators were probing whether the driver, Donneil Raeburn of Pikesville, was drag racing before the crash. Investigators think alcohol may have been a factor, though charges have not yet been filed.

Mr. Raeburn, 26, was in critical condition Monday at the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The crash killed Mary-Kathryn Abernathy, 22, of Columbia, Md., and Jonathan Henderson, 20, of La Plata, Md. Both were hit as they stood next to Mr. Henderson’s car on the shoulder.

A third bystander, Paul Duffy of Elkridge, was struck in the chain-reaction crash. Hospital officials said Mr. Duffy, 22, was treated for serious injuries Sunday and released.

Baltimore County police said that just before the crash, a patrol officer found several vehicles along the shoulder of the highway.

When the patrol car was spotted, police said bystanders began to get in their cars and drive away. That’s when Mr. Raeburn lost control of his 2009 Chevrolet Impala and struck the rear of Mr. Duffy’s 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier.

Mr. Buck said the area might be prone to racing as a result of blocked expansion of the highway into Baltimore in the 1960s. It left a little-used, three-lane stretch of interstate that could be tempting for amateur racers.

Officers step up patrols of that section on nights and weekends, Sgt. Betts said, but do have to rotate among other areas. Plus, illegal racers often use police scanners and other devices to keep tabs on whether authorities are nearby, he said.

Mounting cameras in the area would be something law enforcement would need to undertake, Mr. Buck said. SHA uses cameras to monitor traffic, not illegal activities.

“We’re going to take a look to see if there is anything else that can be done,” he said.

Sunday’s deaths follow a gruesome accident in February 2008, when eight people were killed when a car crashed into a crowd of drag-racing spectators along Route 210 in Accokeek. Two men were charged in that case, which prompted increased patrols near popular racing sites.

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