JARRETTSVILLE, Md.(WJZ)—Two Harford County teenagers were involved in a serious crash, and only one of them survived. Now friends and family are left wondering how the life of a promising 18-year-old was cut short.

Gigi Barnett has more.

Ashley Stewart and Mark Buchanan’s Valentine’s Day plans were set—a trip to their old high school, North Harford High, followed by an early dinner. But the date never ended that way.

Instead Harford County sheriffs say on a stretch of Grier Nursery Road in Jarrettsville, somehow Buchanan lost control of the car, veered into the northbound lane and smashed head-on into a SUV.

Stewart, 18, died hours later at Shock Trauma.

“Your mind just spins and spins and spins trying to piece it together,” said Bill Stewart, father. “I don’t know if we will ever know.”

Bill and Karen Stewart are Ashley’s parents. She was a model student at Harford Community College.

Buchanan had just gotten back into town from Marine boot camp. The young couple spent weeks planning their Valentine’s date.

“Here it is Monday afternoon. I talk to her and by Tuesday morning she’s gone and I can’t tell her anything anymore. It’s just heartbreaking to know that you just don’t know when these things will happen,” said Karen Stewart.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the crash.

Early reports show the driver of the SUV, Jorge Velazquez, 32, did not have a Maryland driver’s license.

Police believe the teens weren’t wearing seat belts.

“Our traffic reconstructionists are working just to piece all pieces together for a final report,” said Monica Worrell, Harford County Sherriff’s spokeswoman.

As for Ashley’s family, they’re remembering the time spent with her. Their message to young drivers is clear.

“Be careful. It only takes a split second for something like this to happen,” said Bill Stewart.

Preliminary police reports show Buchanan at fault. Police say they are treating the case as an accident. Possible charges against Buchanan will be filed by the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The driver of the SUV was treated and released from Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.

Comments (49)
  1. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

    When one driver has no valid license & two others aren’t wearing seat belts, it can only get worse. What were those kids thinking? Indestructible? yeah sure. A real tragedy for that family.

    1. Sarah says:

      It didn’t say he doesn’t have a license, just not a MD one. Though that would be a weird thing to say unless he was unlicensed, but we don’t know that for sure

    2. Linda-Cantler Donhauser says:

      When I was young I I didn’t think anything would happen to me. I think a lot of young kids believe that. If someone lives in this state they need a valid MD drivers license.

  2. Anthony says:

    It was not a SUV. It was a 1997 Chevy 1500 Pickup truck. It is very sad there are tickets issuse to the driver of the Pickup, not have a licence in any state, not just having it Maryland

  3. chuck says:

    my heart goes out for the family but no license or no seatbelt — doesn’t matter .What were their parents thinking to put their kids in a GM Cobalt. A car the size of a refirigerator against any mid-size SUV is no contest.

    1. jerksmakemesick says:

      Why are you and exactly who are you to be blaming the parents? What kind of comment is that?

  4. Steve says:

    Hey Chuck, nice comment, you’re a jerk!

    1. Valantis says:

      Hey Steve good call…people are rude..I wish some people would actually think before they even write comments like that..My condolences to both families

  5. Dee says:

    Steve – you’re right!
    Chuck – what does the fact that they were driving a Cobalt have anything to do with it? If they were in a mid-size SUV the other vehicle could have been a moving truck – same result. Tragic accident all around. My condolences to the family.

  6. susan says:

    My condolences to everyone involved.

  7. angela says:

    absolutely heartbreaking…..i pray the family and friends of Ashley and Mark, and Mark himself, can get through this tragedy. May God be with them all.

  8. Amber says:

    Mark Buchanan should not be charged with anything. Jorge Velazquez should be since he did not have a Maryland driver’s license. A person without a license shouldnt be driving period. Accidents happen but he should not be to blame. And my comments to mark,marks family and ashleys family my prayers go out to all of you. I am sorry to hear about your loss

    1. Robin says:

      I am very sorry for the family’s of these two young adults.

      As for this Jorge Velazquez, he probably wasn’t legal either. Sad thing is he is probably long gone by now. No insurance, no driver’s license, probably no legal papers. It’s people like this that are causing so many problems. I hope the police had the common sense to check this guy out before letting him loose.

    2. Sarah says:

      I agree a person w/o a license shouldn’t be driving… but it says that the teens’ car swerved into the other lane. With or without a license sounds like Velazquez probably wouldn’t have been able to avoid the accident

  9. Rusty says:

    Get used to it in Maryland! The guy with no license was probably on his was to a free education at the college, then off to collect his free welfare check that you and I work so hard to support. But since he got hurt, and probably doesnt have health care, its ok, OBAMA care will take care of him, yet another perk you and I pay for. Condolences go out to the families of the CITIZENS who WERE ALLOWED TO BE ON THE ROAD LEGALLY!

    1. Christopher R. Gabaya Sr. says:

      Amen Rusty you speak the truth.

  10. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

    Rusty, You are a moron. One sided comments such as yours are bigoted & selfish.

    1. Robin says:

      Bernard, you are a moron. Rusty’s comments, as bigoted and selfish as they may sound, is sadly the truth!

      1. Zac says:

        Well I work for the fire department and I can tell you just as many CITIZENS are driving without papers as illegals. Last I checked the story made no mention of his legal status so you are all profiling based on a last name. His family could have came here legally five generations ago. And it also makes no mention of why they lost control. So until you have all the details stop making rude and ignorant comments. Americans are just as bad as anyone else about breaking our own laws. My prayers to the families of all persons involved, includeing the driver of the truck. Somone has to show some compassion here.

      2. davidgoliath9" says:

        Robin, You know this for a fact? If not stop being a bandwagon jumper.

  11. Heather says:

    I’m from Jarrettsville, Grier Nursery is a very windy rd and can be very dangerous if speeding even a little bit over the speed limit. This is a horrible tragedy and I pray for everyone involved.

  12. Richard says:

    I remember very well at graduation ceremony, the Commander of the ceremony telling parent not to let the young Marines drive while on this shot leave period. And every Marine is required to wear a seat belt or they are subject to NJP. I feel for the loss in this situation but his parents were told by his commanding officer not to let him drive, and they did not follow his orders.

  13. Sherri says:

    Yes Richard you are right !!!!!!!

  14. Linda Cantle-Donhauser says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family!!!!

    I believe anyone that drives in this state should have a license, I don’t care who it is.

  15. Kathy says:

    WHY doesn’t everyone just leave thier condolences for heavens sake. Stop with the negativity, Focus on the fact that an 18 year old has lost her life. Some of these comments are ridiculous. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved.

  16. Tracy says:

    I agree with Kathy. How is it that an article about a young girl who lost her life results in all of these comments? It is ridiculous. It doesn’t matter who had a license, what state it was from or not, what kind of car was involved. NONE of this matters. Ashley lived in my neighborhood. She was a young, beautiful girl with her whole life ahead of her. And now she is gone. Her family is going through enough without criticism and all of this speculation. Let them mourn without all of this ridiculous commentary.

    1. hermanthegerman says:

      Try wearing seat belts adults & teens. This isn’t a video game but real life. You don’t get to play again tomorrow.

    2. Carol says:

      Thank you Kathy and Tracey! What is the matter with the rest of you? Where is your compassion? A young life was tragically cut short and another will suffer the consequences the rest of his life. All of these comments are crazy and unfounded. The police said not a Maryland license never said no license. And does that matter here? No! This isn’t the time or place for these ridiculous
      comments. Where are your hearts – you should be offering your condolensces to these families. This is the worst tragedy a family can face loosing a child. They don’t need to be reading all of this nonsense especially at this time. Let
      these families mourn without all of your criticism.

  17. Danny says:

    At this point the only thing we know is this was an unfortunate and tragic accident. Just wish your condolences to everyone involved (EVERYONE) and shut up please.

  18. Cyndi says:

    Everyone one should be sending their thoughts and prayers instead of the ridiculous comments. Every person has their days numbers, its terrible how some lives end. We go through trials in life for reasons, although we really don’t understand why. God will never fail you and his love is everlastings…
    My thoughts and prayers go to all the families and friends involved in the loss of Ashley. Not to forget Mark, we don’t know how this will impact his future. God Bless…

  19. Owings Mills says:

    Mark, stop texting. Driving distracted really does kill, doesn’t it?

    1. Cyndi says:

      Thats really low Owings Mills… Where you there? NO you wasn’t.

      1. What? says:

        Based on the above sentence, you wasn’t paying attention in English class.

  20. Kathy says:

    My husband works with Ashley’s mother. All I can say is that this is such a tragic accident. We can’t dwell on the what ‘if’s” as we don’t know what really happened. All I have to say is to pray for everyone invloved. Take this as a lesson…life can end at any moment…. Live to your fullest every day and don’t spend your time judging people.

  21. perry says:

    “Instead Harford County sheriffs say on a stretch of Grier Nursery Road in Jarrettsville, SOMEHOW BUCHANAN LOST CONTROL OF THE CAR, veered into the northbound lane and smashed head-on into a SUV.”

    Are people missing that point? What does the other guy’s license or legality have anything to do with this crash? Nothing. All of you are simply speculating about something that has nothing to do with this accident.

  22. teresa downs says:

    To the Stewart family, I am sorry for your lost, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  23. derrickman says:

    Thoughts & prayers are nothing more than social amenities at this point so forget it. It only makes the sender feel good. Better yet, BUCKLE THE HELL UP & maybe these girls would still be alive.

  24. Country Girl says:

    Jorge Velazquez is a very kind, hardworking father. Without ever meeting him, how can one judge him. To say his background or just because he did not have a valid maryland drivers license gives you the right to be so negative and disrespectful ~ somebody needs to stop the ignorance. In a tradgic accident where fatality is a result, we always want to blame others, hate others, and figure out why. We forget that love and being supportive is what we need to be doing. The family of this young lady will never receive a warm hug or i love you, or watch their daughter get married and blossom into a mother. The young man driving will never forget this horrific day nor will he ever have the chance of possibly asking his valentine date to marry him. And Mr. Velazquez will never forget driving the road home one afternoon, recalling his being in the wrong place at the wrong time. God is the only one who knows each of our fate. Please, for those who are negative, take that effort and be supportive to each of these families. And please, try to start to understanding rather than blame. And please, keep these families in your prayers.

    1. derrickman says:

      Country girl. Maybe Mr. Veazquez if he ever gets to drive again can work with parents whose children were killed by drivers drunk, illegal, on suspended or revoked licensees. What is & whay did he not have a license in Md? This should never have happened & even if Mr V was not at fault the fact is he was breaking a law by not having a valid license. The girls may have been goofing off & by not wearing sealt belts, it cost one her life. We have laws people, when are you all going to start obeying them for the good of all citizens?

  25. Country Girl says:

    Derrickman, You might want to read this story again. This involved a young lad taking his young girl to valentines dinner. No matter what law was broken, the situation here is a young lady lost her life. The respect should be condolences to the family. Keep your bigotry in your closet in your home and be respectful to those involved.

  26. derrickman says:

    Country Girl, Guess he’ll be going to a funeral & then jail now. Lessons learned the hard way are lessons well learned. You & your bleeding heart counterparts are nothing more than mental vomit on this thread.

  27. pigeon says:

    God has a new angel. My prayers and condolences to all families involved. Peace be with all of you.

  28. Catherine says:

    Everyone truely need’s to stop with the ignorance! This is a tragic event for all three families.People need to shut up and give good thoughts to these families not pushing their face’s down in the dirt even more.These rude comments need to be ended because noone in greif truely needs to see this.My thoughts and prayers go out to the families.I know the victims family and they are truely in alot of pain right now.This accident happened and there is no going back some support would be nice for the families.

  29. J says:

    Ashley was a beautiful, smart young girl who would not want blame being thrown around for this tragic accident. People don’t want to believe horrible things like this can happen for no reason.. And try to put the blame on someone. Really, what we should be doing is cherishing Ashleys memory and offering support to her family, friends, and Mark. They should have been wearing seatbelt, but it’s too late for that now, and I’m sure many of you as teenagers ddnt wear yours atleast once. Everyone makes stupid decisions and mistakes, but most of us get lucky. It breaks my heart to see how much pain ashley’s family and friends are going through.. But I do hope this is a lesson to all that you never know what could happen and alwas be prepared. R.I.P. Ashley ❤ we will never forget you.. You are missed so much already.

  30. meggie says:

    Adults do not wear seatbelts either! There have been case’s where seatbelts do not work or they can also case more damage.Cars are death traps period

    1. frankiebig boy says:

      What an absolute stupid statement Meggie..!! That’s like saying why bother to have water in a hose to put out the fire because sometimes it doesn’t work. Yeah, but I’ll take my chances with seat belts because statistics prove beyond any doubt they save lives./…..Parents, here’s a quick little test for you & your teen drives. Ask them to run you to the store one day after they have been driving for about six months maybe a year. Notice if they buckle up & do not say anything. If they don’t, take awe the keys & walk away & I mean don’t let them have them again for a month. That is your only weapon & grades that you have over them at that point in their lives.

  31. CA says:

    Ashley was one of my bestfriends. I think its beyond messed up that all of you are arguing over who was at fault and what is right and wrong. The only thing you should be doing is offering condolences. It was an accident thats why they are called that. Mark loved Ashley more than anyone. Even though we may not understand it, this happened for a reason. Ashley was the most beautiful and genuine person I knew and I will never forget you rip ash ❤

  32. Ashley S. says:

    She will be missed. I didn’t know Ashley but I’m from Harford County also and my heart aches for her. My older sister never wears a seat belt and I’m always scared for her. Please people Buckle Up.

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