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Four people, including two young girls, were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries Saturday afternoon following a Glen Burnie car accident that authorities say was caused by a Howard County police officer attempting an illegal U-turn.
Investigators say that Symchay Kon Bendu, a four-year veteran of the Howard County Police Department, was driving east on Route 100 in his marked police cruiser at around 4:15 p.m. when he attempted to make the illegal turn at the intersection with Route 10 south. Anne Arundel Police said that Bendu's attempted turn took him into the path of a 2005 Honda Civic that was traveling south on Route 10.
Authorities say that Bendu was on duty at the time, but was not familiar with the area, and was attempting to return to Howard Co.
The driver of the Civic has been identified as 31-year-old Jamie Marie Butler of Brooklyn Park, Md. She and her adult passenger, 34-year-old Charlie Norfolk, also of Brooklyn Park, were taken to Johns Hopkins Trauma Center, where they are listed as being in stable condition. The two girls, aged 11 and 4, are from Baltimore and are listed as being in critical condition at Johns Hopkins Pediatric Trauma Center.
The investigation is ongoing; however, at this point, authorities do not believe that drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash and are focusing on driver error.
Howard County Police Chief William McMahon released the following statement Sunday morning:
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the two children who were seriously injured in a collision today involving a Howard County police officer in Anne Arundel County. As a parent, my heart goes out to their parents and family.
"I am confident that the Anne Arundel County Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation of all of the circumstances of the collision. I have been in touch with Acting Police Chief Davis and we are doing all we can to cooperate with investigators and provide any information and assistance they need. Because this is an active case, I am unable to comment further on the details of the incident at this time.
"The Howard County Police Department also will conduct an internal investigation into the incident, after Anne Arundel County Police have completed their preliminary work.
Tonight, I am thinking of the children and their family as they go through this devastating ordeal and praying for their recovery."
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Anne Arundel County Police at (410) 222-8610 or (410) 222-8573.