From the Maryland State Police, Bel Air Barrack:
Maryland State Police are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fatal motor vehicle crash which occurred at 7:40 a.m. Friday at Creswell Road (Route 543) just south of Goat Hill Road.
Thomas John Higgins, 52 yoa, of Guy Way, Dundalk, Maryland was operating a 2005 Ford Van northbound on Creswell Road, south of Goat Hill Road. The van then crossed the centerline of the roadway and sideswiped a southbound Chevrolet Malibu, operated by James Maxwell French, 62 yoa, of Kirby Circle, Bel Air, Maryland. The van then deflected from the Malibu and then struck a 1995 Volkswagen Golf, head-on, which had also been traveling southbound on Creswell Road. The Volkswagen Golf was being operated by George Kreutzer Jr., 53 yoa, of High Point Road, Forest Hill, Maryland.
The operator Kreutzer was flown by Maryland State Police medevac (Trooper 1) to R. Adams Cowley, Shock Trauma. At approximately 9:00 a.m. it was learned that Mr. Kreutzer died as a result of the injuries sustained during this crash.
Operator Higgins was transported via ambulance to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with minor injuries and was later released. Based upon interviews and statements made at the crash scene it appears that operator Higgins fell asleep which resulted in the van he was operating crossing the centerline of the roadway, into oncoming traffic.
Corporal M. G. Brady (reconstructionist) and Trooper P. D. Orem are assigned this investigation and are consulting with the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office as to the proper charges to be levied.
A primary responsibility of the Maryland State Police in Harford County remains that of motor vehicle crash reduction on State and U. S. Routes. Fatal motor vehicle crash prediction remains difficult as commonalities in Harford County fatal crashes are few. Because of this, the strategy for troopers at the Maryland State Police, Bel Air Barrack, continues to be that of reducing the common denominator in any fatal crash, the crash itself. In late 2010, after identifying “high crash” areas in collaboration with the Maryland State Highway Administration, it was clear that additional partnerships would be helpful in achieving our goal of reducing crashes.
Soon after, the concept of the Harford County Traffic Task Force was presented to our partners from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the Aberdeen Police Department, the Bel Air Police Department and the Havre De Grace Police Department. In April, 2010, the Harford County Traffic Task Force was mobilized in response to the need for cohesive and “high visibility” traffic enforcement in designated “high crash” areas.
The partnerships have significantly increased high visibility enforcement efforts in identified problematic areas and maximized resource sharing. Despite the tragic crashes over the past several weeks, and today, innovative concepts like this appear to be making a difference.
Troopers are analyzing crash data more closely than ever before, and in daily fashion, to gain valuable “real-time” insight into the total picture of Harford County crashes on our State and U.S. routes. Additionally, troopers have collaborated with analysts at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland for geo-mapping services in order to further aid in targeting/identifying areas in need of attention. As a result of technological advancements there will be even more proactive ideas in the near future dealing with this critical quality of life issue. Traffic enforcement locations, dates, and times will continue to be posted on www.mdsp.org (click barracks and Barrack D – Bel Air).
Some encouraging statistics include fatal motor vehicle crashes stabilizing to 23 between 2010 and 2011. There were 26 fatal motor vehicle crashes during 2009. Also, a query of local crash statistics (below) revealed that the total number of crashes handled by the Maryland State Police declined between 2010 and 2011.
Please keep in mind that the above crash strategies and successes are not meant to minimize the tragedies that our citizens have experienced over the past several weeks.
Please rest assured that the Maryland State Police, and our partners, are continuing to do our very best to save lives and reduce motor vehicle crashes within our county. In response to the recent fatalities, enforcement activities are planned throughout the week along the Creswell Road (Route 543) area between Route 22 and I-95.