Posted on Jun 23, 2011

A little boy is dead and five teens injured after a single-car accident in Anne Arundel County on June 8.

The driver, 16-year-old Buck John Benny, supposedly ignored his friends' requests to slow down on a curvy section of southbound Ridge Road.

As he sped along the road nearing the Elkridge Furnace Inn around 8 p.m., Benny lost control of the Plymouth Acclaim he was driving and smashed into a tree.

According to police, only two of the vehicle's occupants were wearing seat belts. Maryland State law requires all passengers to wear a seat belt when the driver is under 18.

Benny was rushed to a local trauma center and was upgraded to fair condition by Thursday afternoon.
His front-seat passenger, 18-year-old Gary Ellison, had been wearing a seat belt and was listed in serious condition.

Britney Shiflett, 18, was sitting in the back seat with her nephew on her lap, a seat belt covering both of them. Shiflett was in critical but stable condition by Thursday afternoon.

Joseph Eugene Sutherlin, 3, was pronounced dead at St. Agnes Hospital. Police say the outcome might have been different if the child had been in a car seat.

The other two back-seat passengers were also injured. Jamie Shiflett, 17, was listed in serious condition. John Ward, 16, ignored his doctor's advice and went home with his arm and leg bandaged.

According to police on the scene, the factors that contributed to the crash were speed, reckless driving, and driver error. Police believe the extent of the passengers' injuries was partly due to their failure to wear seat belts.

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