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Engaged Couple Killed in Crash

Navy Officer's Car Slid on Icy Road in St. Mary's County

By Arthur Santana
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 3, 2005; Page SM03

A Navy lieutenant commander and his fiancee were killed Saturday night in St. Mary's County when the car in which they were traveling skidded on an icy road before colliding head-on with another vehicle, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said.

Authorities said that just after 10 p.m. Saturday, Denis Gerald Tri, 37, of Solomons, was driving a 1996 Lexis S30 north on Hollywood Road near Dorsey Park in Hollywood when he lost control of the vehicle and crossed the center line.

Tri's vehicle was then struck by a southbound vehicle, driven by Charles D. Woodburn of Leonardtown, the sheriff's office said.

Tri was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in Tri's vehicle, fiancee Tricia K. Goken of Solomons, was transported to St. Mary's Hospital, where she died a short time later, sheriff's authorities said.

Woodburn was transported to St. Mary's Hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.

The primary cause of the accident was icy roads, authorities said. Speed or alcohol were not factors, they said.

Tri was the aide for Vice Adm. Wally Massenburg at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Before assuming that duty in November, Tri was a flight instructor at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at the base, said Naval Air Systems Command spokesman Bob Coble.

"Those of us who knew and worked with Denis will miss him terribly," Massenburg said in a statement. "He was a fine young man and an outstanding naval officer."

Tri, a native of St. Paul, Minn., graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He entered the Navy in 1991 and reported to flight training in Pensacola, Fla.

In his career, Tri accumulated more than 1,800 flight hours in 35 aircraft and logged more than 350 carrier landings. His decorations include the Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various other awards, according to his Navy service biography.

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