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A crash on Route 5 in Redgate last Friday morning of a speeding car and a school bus carrying teenagers left the car’s driver dead, police report. At least one of the students tried to assist the motorist thrown to the ground by the impact.

Dennis Anthony Gingles, 46, of Lexington Park was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputies investigating the 8 a.m. collision. Neither the bus driver, 44-year-old Sandra Marie Adkins of Lexington Park, nor any of the eight Great Mills High School students on the bus were injured, the sheriff’s office reports, but the county public schools’ superintendent said Adkins was taken to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown to be examined.

The southbound 2005 Hyundai driven by Gingles was speeding and illegally traveled on the highway’s shoulder to pass two vehicles, the sheriff’s office reports, before it went out of control, spun sideways across the pavement’s centerline and crashed into the side of the oncoming school bus. Gingles, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the car.

“I think he died instantly. I hope he did,” Joan Gingles said Monday of the collision that killed her son. “I hope he didn’t have any pain.”

She added, “I was worried about the people on the bus.”

The students were en route to the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown when the crash occurred, Superintendent Michael Martirano said Friday morning, immediately after visiting the scene of the accident. Martirano said a sheriff’s deputy at the scene told him that some of the Forrest center students exited the bus after the collision and began to assist the car’s driver, using the bus’ first-aid kit.

William Kenney, a Great Mills junior, was on the way to take his fire/rescue emergency medical services class at the tech center when the bus was hit. The 17-year-old Ridge resident also serves on that community’s volunteer rescue squad.

“We were driving along, and the car just spun out of control” and hit the bus, Kenney said, adding that some of the students were thrown from their seats.

“That was the first time I’d ever been on that severe of a call,” he said, adding that his training and reflexes kicked in immediately after the crash. He ran off the bus, grabbing the first-aid kit on his way, to check on the car’s driver. Using his rescue training from school and volunteer time with the Ridge squad, he began assessing Dennis Gingles’ condition and checked his responsiveness.

“The training helped a little, but it definitely doesn’t fully prepare you to see what I saw,” Kenney said.

Gingles was lying alongside the road in a ditch of ice-cold water, Kenney said. Before long, the bus driver asked the teenager to move away from the car’s driver, for his own safety. Police and other rescue workers then began arriving.

The highway was shut down between Chingville Road and Whirlwind Road through midday Friday as an accident reconstruction team worked at the scene.

“What the students witnessed was horrific,” Martirano said.

St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron (R) said this week, “The potential for a [greater] disaster was certainly there.”

Dennis Gingles was arrested last December after a police chase that Calvert County sheriff’s deputies report began in Solomons, crossed the bridge over the Patuxent River into St. Mary’s and ended with a crash in a yard off North Essex Drive in Lexington Park. Gingles pleaded guilty on March 7 to attempting to elude police during the incident and a drug paraphernalia offense, online court records state, and he was sentenced to six months in jail on the traffic charge, suspended to time served in pretrial confinement.

Officers from the two primary law-enforcement agencies in St. Mary’s were adamant this week that Gingles was not being pursued by police Friday morning, one lawman noting that Gingles was traveling “out on his own” when the crash occurred.

From the home off Great Mills Road where she lived with her son, Joan Gingles, 76, noted accomplishments in his life, including graduating from high school and getting good grades during a year in college.

She was accompanied Monday afternoon by a close friend.

“It’s a very sad thing,” the friend said. “She’s by herself now.”

jwharton@somdnews.com

jyeatman@somdnews.com