The driver of an SUV involved in a crash that killed an off-duty police officer will be charged, Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw said Friday.
Officer Kevin Bowden, 28, was driving northbound on Branch Avenue when he was involved in a collision with an SUV at Surratts Road about 3 p.m. Thursday. His cruiser was forced into a utility pole.
"The preliminary investigation reveals that the actions of the driver of the SUV... caused the collision," Magaw said in a press conference Friday. "The driver had originally been in the left turn lane and at some point made a decision to cross several lanes of traffic, colliding with Officer Bowden's cruiser."
Following the crash, Bowden was taken to Southern Maryland Hospital Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The driver of the SUV, a 61-year-old woman, was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center. She remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators performed routine toxicology tests, but the results are not available yet, Magaw said.
Authorities were in contact with the state's attorney's office Friday morning. "They have been briefed on this case," Magaw said.
Investigators are continuing to look into all potential causes of the crash.
Based on physical evidence at the scene, Bowden's cruiser was likely traveling above the speed limit, Magaw said. The exact speed has not been determined, but Magaw said the information will become available in the future.
Authorities have also determined that Bowden was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.
This was the second fatal crash involving a Prince George's County officer who wasn't wearing his seatbelt in the past two months.
Officer Adrian Morris, 23, died after his cruiser ran off Interstate 95 while he and his partner were pursuing theft suspects Aug. 20.
During Friday's press conference, Magaw said he is very concerned about this issue. Seatbelts have to be worn in accordance with Maryland state law, Magaw said.
"This is a critical piece that we can control, frankly," he said. "There are so many things in this profession we can’t control. We have to control the things we can."
The department will begin a new safety campaign in December to raise awareness of seatbealt use among officers.
Born and raised in Cinton, Bowden was a graduate of Surrattsville High School. He was a six-year veteran of District 4 and leaves behind two children, ages 11 and 5.
"He was loved by his community and his department," Magaw said.
A statement from County Executive Rushern Baker on Thursday read, "Our county government, every community and every citizen of Prince George’s County grieves again this evening. Nearly two months to the day, we have lost another Prince George’s County Police Department officer, Kevin Bowden, as a result of a serious automobile accident. Our condolences go out to Officer Bowden’s family, friends and the Prince George’s County Police Department."
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