2 Harford Co. Teens Involved In Valentine’s Day Fatal Crash

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.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • bernard F Mc Kernan

    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.

    • Sarah

      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

    • Linda-Cantler Donhauser

      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.

  • Anthony

    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

  • chuck

    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.

    • jerksmakemesick

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

  • Steve

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

    • Valantis

      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

  • Dee

    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.

  • susan

    My condolences to everyone involved.

  • angela

    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.

  • Amber

    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

    • Robin

      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.

    • Sarah

      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

  • Rusty

    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!

    • Christopher R. Gabaya Sr.

      Amen Rusty you speak the truth.

  • bernard F Mc Kernan

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

    • Robin

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

      • davidgoliath9"

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

      • Zac

        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.

  • Heather

    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.

  • Richard

    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.

  • Sherri

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

  • Linda Cantle-Donhauser

    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.

  • Kathy

    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.

  • Tracy

    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.

    • hermanthegerman

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

    • Carol

      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.

  • Danny

    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.

  • Cyndi

    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…

  • Owings Mills

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

    • Cyndi

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

      • What?

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

  • Kathy

    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.

    • Cyndi

      AMEN Kathy!!!!!

  • perry

    “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.

  • teresa downs

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

  • derrickman

    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.

  • Country Girl

    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.

    • derrickman

      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?

  • Country Girl

    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.

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