Driver charged in crash that killed two

Mark D. Austin

A Brandywine man has been charged in connection with a fatal vehicle crash that killed two people on Saturday on Crain Highway in Upper Marlboro, according to a Maryland State Police press release.

The driver charged has been identified as Mark D. Austin, 35. Austin is being charged with two counts of motor vehicle manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent manslaughter, according to the release.

Austin reportedly did not have any injuries following the crash, however he was later transported to MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital after complaining of discomfort. After examination at the hospital, he was transported to the Prince George’s County Central Booking Center for processing and an initial appearance before a court commissioner.

The deceased are identified as Michael Hethmon, 66, of the 8100 block of Croom Road in Upper Marlboro. A 49-year-old woman, also from Upper Marlboro, was the second victim. Her name is being withheld, pending the location and notification of family. Both victims were pronounced deceased at the scene by members of the Prince George’s County Fire Department.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. Saturday, state troopers from the Forestville Barrack responded to a call for a two vehicle crash on northbound Crain Highway at Croom Station Road in Upper Marlboro. The Maryland State Police crash team responded and assumed the investigation.

The preliminary investigation revealed that Austin was driving a 2019 Ford F-150 pickup northbound on Crain Highway approaching Croom Station Road. Austin failed to stop for a red traffic signal and the Ford pickup drove into the intersection and struck a 2016 Subaru Legacy driven by the female victim.

According to the preliminary investigation, the female was making a left turn onto Croom Station Road from southbound Crain Highway when the pickup struck the car in the passenger side door. The force of the crash caused the car to rotate and strike the guardrail. The pickup also rotated, overturned on its roof and caught fire.

There were no reported injuries to Austin from the fire. The preliminary investigation indicates speed, failure to obey a traffic control device and driver impairment were all factors in this crash.

Based on consultation with the state’s attorney’s office, additional charges are possible, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation. According to the release, a detailed crash reconstruction will be completed by the Maryland State Police crash team and presented to the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.

The northbound and southbound lanes of Crain Highway were closed in the area of the intersection with Croom Station Road due to the significant scene and fatalities involved. Traffic was detoured around the scene by Maryland Department of Transportation state highway administration personnel.

The roadway was reopened about 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. Additional on-scene assistance was provided by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Prince George’s County Fire Department.

The investigation is continuing. Austin is being held without bond in the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections.

Twitter: @RyanSoMdNews

Twitter: @RyanSoMdNews