Motorcyclist Dies After Collision With Trooper

Motorcyclist Dies After Collision

(Waldorf, MD) – A Charles County motorcyclist was fatally injured this afternoon following a collision with an off-duty state trooper at a new intersection in Charles County.

The crash victim is identified as John W. Harding, 33, of the 4700-block of Kittiwake Court, Waldorf, Md. He was pronounced dead at Prince George’s Hospital Center where he had been flown by U.S. Park Police Eagle 1.

The trooper involved is identified as Trooper First Class Justin E. Zimmerman, 26, assigned to the Maryland State Police Crash Team at the College Park Barracks. He has been employed by the Maryland State Police for six years.

Shortly before 4:00 p.m. today, Zimmerman was off-duty, driving an unmarked State Police 2006 Ford Expedition northbound on Middletown Road when he entered a new intersection at Lexington Drive and made a left turn. Harding was southbound on Middletown Road, operating a 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle as he rounded the curve approaching Lexington Drive.

The preliminary State Police investigation indicates Zimmerman was following a northbound school bus before turning left at the intersection in front of Harding. The motorcycle slid into the right rear of the Ford Expedition, causing Harding to be ejected. Harding was wearing a helmet. The motorcycle caught fire after the crash. Zimmerman was not injured in the crash.

The intersection where the crash occurred is a new intersection where the road is still under construction. There is a traffic signal installed at the intersection, but it is not yet functioning. The speed limit on Middletown Road is 30 mph. The speed of the motorcycle at the time of the crash has not been determined.

The State Police investigation is continuing. Upon completion, the investigation will be presented to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.

Drive To Survive Teaches Teens to Avoid Crashes

Avoid Crashes

According to the Allstate Foundation Chronic Survey, every year between 5,000 and 6,000 teenagers died in car accidents and additional 300,000 are injured annually. In attempt to try to prevent the unnecessary deaths of our young drivers, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) has approved an advance safety and collision avoidance program that uses real life situations within a controlled environment. The program is called Drive2Survive.

The Drive2Survive program teaches both new and experienced drivers the skills needed to anticipate unexpected emergency situations to minimize collisions and bodily injury in the event of a crash. It is currently the only licensed advanced driving program approved by the MVA.

Drive2Survive is an 8 hour program which consists of 6 hours of driving and 2 hours of classroom instruction. The classroom instructions shows presentation of car crashes and teaches on how to avoid accidents or minimize the damage if a crash is unavoidable.

Since 2004, Toyota has sponsored the program and has donated cars to use for the course. So far, about 800 teenage drivers have taken the course. Drive2Survive are scheduled monthly at RFK Stadium, Maryland State Police headquarters in Pikesville, and Patuxent River Webster air base.