Crofton, MD Pick Up Truck Crash, Apr 1979


Crofton, Md. (AP) - A pickup truck carrying 12 young people to a party crashed into trees on a dark, isolated stretch of rural road and overturned, killing eight persons and injuring the others, police said.
State police said the accident was the second-worst in Maryland's history in terms of traffic fatalities. Ten persons died in a crash in June 1954, they said.
All the victims were dependents of Army personnel at Fort Meade, Md., said Officer Jack Rayhart, of the Anne Arundel County police.
Only the driver, ALAN COLE, 18, of Baltimore, escaped serious injury. He was listed in good condition with multiple lacerations and contusions at Kimbrough Army Hospital in Ft. Meade, officials said.
"It was quite a tragic thing," said Sgt. Richard Smith of the Anne Arundel County police.
Officials spent the night sorting through personal items in an effort to identify the youths. "It's a problem trying to find out who's who," Smith said.
The victims were identified as PAUL MORENZ, 16; TAMMERA WEAVER, 16, and her 18-year-old brother, ROBERT; BARRY DeAOUN, 14, and his 15-year-old sister, DENISE; CINDY BRAY, no age given; MARILYN HARRIS, no age given; and CLARK KUSHA, 14, authorities said.
Seven of the dead victims resided at Fort Meade, authorities said.
There was no address available for KUSHA, who died on the operating table at 3:25 a.m. at the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Unit, according to hospital spokeswoman Marianna Herschel. She said his family left the hospital before authorities could find out where he lived.
TINA NEAL, 15, of Fort Meade, suffering from internal injuries and injuries to her left arm, pelvis and back, and EUGENE RENAUD, 15, of Fort Meade, being treated for injuries to his head, chest, left arm and both legs, were listed in critical condition at the Shock Trauma Unit, Ms. Herschel said.
KENNETH SASSERMAN, 16, of Fort Meade, taken to Kimbrough Army Hospital at Fort Meade, was transferred to Washington's Walter Reed Army Hospital with a possible fractured vertebrae, according to Capt. James Meli.
The accident occurred on Patuxent River Road about four miles from here, officers said.
Rayhart said it appeared as if "nothing" had ever happened at the accident scene.
"I know that's a weird thing to say, but nothing. It doesn't look like there was ever an accident," he said. "It's obvious a lot were in the back of the truck and thrown out. There wasn't any indication of speed. But something caused them to turn over and threw them out."

Sioux City Journal Iowa 1979-04-25