Md. Families Mourn Deaths of 4 in Helicopter Crash
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The helicopter crash in the rain and fog early Sunday in Prince George's County took the lives of three Waldorf residents and a Carroll County man.
The incident began late Saturday night when two recent Westlake High School graduates were heading home by car in Waldorf and the driver lost control of her Ford Taurus, causing it to cross the median, hit several trees and crash into another car.
A Maryland State Police medical helicopter was sent to the scene. Rescue workers decided to take the girls to Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly. The onboard team included a Waldorf emergency responder who volunteered to accompany the girls, the pilot from Waldorf and a paramedic from Carroll County who monitored the girls involved in the car crash.
The helicopter encountered bad weather and crashed shortly after midnight in Walker Mill Regional Park, killing the rescue team and Ashley J. Younger, one of the girls involved in the car crash. The other teen, Jordan Wells, survived. She is in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Following is information about the victims and what happened that night:
Pilot Stephen J. Bunker, 59
Bunker and his wife, Sherry, had lived on the same street in the Lancaster neighborhood in Waldorf for 20 years. The retired state police corporal and father of three was well known and respected in Waldorf.
"If you looked at him, you would say, 'He just looks like a police officer,' " said Rose Marie Drish, 42, who has lived across the street from Bunker for 20 years. "There was a lot of peace here in this neighborhood because of him."
Bunker was a state police officer from 1972 until his retirement in 1998. He returned to service as a civilian medical evacuation pilot for the department.
He loved aviation and helping people, so "being a pilot for the Maryland State Police enabled him to do both," his wife said in a statement. During his career, she said, Bunker and his colleagues saved many lives.
"He was a hero to his family and all who knew him," she said. "He died doing what he loved to do."
Bunker's three children -- Stacie, Shelby and Scott Bunker -- said he was a fantastic father who will be missed by everyone.
"My father has always been a role model in my life," Stacie Bunker said in a statement. "He taught me to be honest, work hard, and keep life in proper perspective. He is truly my hero."