updated 7/29/2008 7:16:56 PM ET 2008-07-29T23:16:56

Two men were racing on an isolated stretch of highway when one plowed into a crowd gathered to watch another illegal race, killing eight people, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Authorities said for the first time that two drivers, not just one, were involved in the gruesome February crash as they announced charges against Darren Bullock, 20, and Tavon Taylor, 18.

The men were each charged with eight counts of vehicular manslaughter, along with reckless driving and street racing. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison on each manslaughter count and fines for the other charges.

Bullock and Taylor were not part of an organized race that fans had gathered to watch along Route 210 in Accokeek, about 20 miles south of Washington. The spectators were hit from behind when they spilled into the road after two other cars sped off.

After plowing through the crowd, Bullock’s white Ford Crown Victoria ended up down an embankment with one of the victims inside. The car had a crumpled hood and a partially collapsed roof. Authorities don’t know whether Taylor hit anyone.

Illegal street-racing culture
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey said the deadly wreck in the early morning darkness highlighted an illegal street-racing subculture with deep roots in the area.

“I think there’s an enormous attraction to street racing in southern Maryland that I hadn’t realized was there,” Ivey said in announcing the indictments. “It’s clear people need to understand how dangerous this activity can be.”

Investigators spent six months interviewing more than 75 witnesses and reviewing images from a security camera at a nearby Beretta gun factory.

Bullock and Taylor were driving at about 110 mph with their headlights off, said a county official with knowledge of the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a lack of authorization to release those details.

A message seeking comment was left with Bullock’s attorney.

Ivey’s office said it was unclear whether Taylor had an attorney yet. A woman who answered the phone at a listing for Tavon Taylor said she had no comment and hung up.

Driving home from band practice
Several days after the crash, Bullock’s uncle, James Walls, told The Associated Press that Bullock was driving his brother home from band practice before 4 a.m. when he came upon the crowd.

Bullock braked, Walls said, but was not able to avoid the bystanders in the road. Bullock and his brother were not seriously injured.

Bullock’s license was suspended at the time. In March, he agreed to perform 32 hours of community service for driving without a license.

Bullock was arrested in May after police determined that a van he was driving had been reported stolen. According to charging documents, Bullock told police he had been driving his stepfather’s van and did not know it had been reported stolen. The van’s owner told police she loaned the van to Bullock’s stepfather in September, but he never returned it, according to the documents.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments