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

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Ashley Stewart
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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.

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