Driver Allegedly Ran Red Lights in Fatal Crash
Friday, February 15, 2008
Beatrice A. Omoro was heading home from work to her Gaithersburg apartment when a motorist driving without headlights while fleeing police ran two red lights and struck her Toyota, fatally injuring the young mother and wife, police say.
Montgomery County police said Anthony James Kutten, 19, was fleeing a Gaithersburg police officer who had pulled him over in the 100 block of Odendhal Avenue on Wednesday night because his car's headlights were off.
Kutten had driven away in his silver 2003 Hyundai as the officer was preparing to get out of her cruiser and approach him, police said. He drove through a red light at Lost Knife Road before running another at Goshen Road and hitting Omoro's black 2005 Toyota, police said. Kutten ran off but was caught after a foot chase, police said.
Kutten, who had no fixed address, is charged with negligent manslaughter by automobile, police said. He is also charged with hit and run in a fatal collision, attempting to elude police by vehicle and foot, two counts of running a red light, speeding and two other traffic citations. He was being held in the Montgomery County Detention Center yesterday in lieu of $500,000 bail and was scheduled for a bond review hearing today.
The collision left a large, close-knit family mourning Omoro, 32, who came from Kenya in 2002 to join an older sister, an uncle and cousins up and down the East Coast. Her sister, Caroline Bubakar, said she is most heartbroken for her sister's son, Aggrey Aryetey, who turns 3 next month, and daughter, Dana Aryetey, who is 3 months old.
"He's going to realize mommy's not here, but what do you tell him?" Bubakar, 40, a registered nurse who lives in Columbia, said of her nephew. "It's not true, it can't be true. It's one thing when someone is sick, but she was fine."
Montgomery police said Omoro was driving north on Goshen Road when Kutten's Hyundai went through the red light about 11:45 p.m. The collision occurred about a half-mile from Omoro's two-bedroom home at Cider Mill Apartments, in the 18300 block of Lost Knife Circle. She died at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.
Her sister said Omoro was heading home from her job as a home health assistant for an elderly woman when her car was hit.
Montgomery police Lt. Paul Starks said that investigators have not indicated why Kutten might have fled the traffic stop but that he was driving without a license. Investigators said they do not think drugs or alcohol were involved.
Bubakar said her sister worked long days, often until 11:30 p.m., to help support her family. She married Desmond Aryetey, who is from Ghana, four years ago after they met as nursing assistants at a home for senior citizens. Omoro surrounded herself with her extended family, becoming a second mother to her siblings' children.
"She'd take care of other people without thinking of herself," Bubakar said, as friends and relatives bearing bags of food crowded into Omoro's apartment.
Kutten's arrest came after what his mother described as a long descent into erratic behavior. In a telephone interview, Johnnilyn Kutten, 49, said she and her husband, James, 58, adopted Anthony and his older sister from foster care when they were 6 and 7 years old. She said that bipolar disorder was diagnosed in him when he was 12 and that he had been sent to mental health facilities and group homes for troubled children after acting out or becoming violent.
Johnnilyn Kutten, who lives in Montgomery Village, said she and her husband relinquished legal guardianship of Anthony Kutten in December 2005. She said they had not been in touch with him since.
Court records show that Anthony Kutten has been arrested in the past on charges of leaving the scene of a collision, driving without required supervision, removing property illegally and carrying a handgun illegally. He was convicted of the property and handgun charges.
Johnnilyn Kutten, a nurse, said that she felt for Omoro's family. She said she and her husband had done all they could to help Anthony Kutten.
"They put points on his license when he didn't even have a license yet," she said. "The idea of him being behind the wheel -- I can't even imagine."
Staff researcher Meg Smith and editorial aide Sarah Marston contributed to this report.