Camden man indicted in son’s death from car crash

 

DOVER — A Camden man is facing a misdemeanor charge and two traffic violations tied to his 5-year-old son’s death in a one-vehicle crash last year.

Mark T. Long was indicted for operation of a motor vehicle causing death in Kent County Superior Court on Monday, along with operation of an unregistered motor vehicle and failure to drive at speed appropriate for conditions.

The charges resulted from a crash on Sept. 17, 2016, when Mr. Long’s vehicle veered off Oak Point School Road in the midst of a moderate left curve, rolled over and landed upside down in a residential yard, according to Delaware State Police investigation.

Both father and son were thrown from the 2002 Lexus RX 300 while heading northbound to buy ice cream on Pearsons Corner Road at approximately 8:02 p.m.

On Thursday, Mr. Long’s wife Theresa described the charges as “more salt in the wounds, that’s for sure” but remained optimistic that “everything will come out alright in the end.

“There were no drugs or alcohol involved, it was just an accident, a very terrible accident.”

Regardless, Mrs. Long said she was “upset” when learning of the indictment and was “hoping nothing would come out of it.”

Mrs. Long said her husband did not want to comment and that “He’s upset. He’s worrying. It’s kind of a shocker in a way.

“It’s quite disappointing and we’re going through a lot but hopefully everything gets worked out and we can try to begin to get past this.

“It gets harder every day, despite what some people say about time passing. It’s not any easier, there’s a lot going on with us.”

Mr. Long is recovering from back surgery on Jan. 16 and “he’s hanging in there. We were afraid he might be paralyzed. … They said it could take up to a year for him to fully recover.”

Five-year-old Matthew Long was a kindergarten pupil at MacIlvain Early Learning Center at the time of his death. (Submitted photo/Long Family)

The unregistered motor vehicle count stemmed from Mr. Long allegedly driving “a motor vehicle upon a public roadway which he was not registered and for which current registration plates had not been issued and appropriate fees had not been paid,” the indictment read.

Mrs. Long said road conditions could have played a part in the crash, along with a possible vehicle malfunction.

The indictment alleged that Mr. Long drove “a motor vehicle upon a public roadway known as Oak Point School Road, Camden-Wyoming, Delaware, at a speed greater than was reasonable and prudent under the conditions and without regard to the actual or potential hazards then existing.”

Mrs. Long said the family has been assigned an attorney.

The State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit determined at the time that both driver and passenger were not wearing seat belts and found “speed may have been a contributing factor in this collision.” No charges were immediately filed.

Oak Point School Road was shut down near the crash site for roughly three hours during an investigation before being cleared.

The younger Long, two weeks into his kindergarten year at McIlvaine Early Childhood Center in Magnolia, was airlifted to Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children, where he remained unconscious and died six days later. According to the family, Matthew’s liver was donated to a boy his age, and his kidney and heart were transplanted in a 1-year-old girl.

Mr. Long, 53 at the time, was severely injured and spent over two months hospitalized and in a Pennsylvania rehabilitation center before returning to his home on Mud Mill Road just before Thanksgiving.

For several days after the crash, Mr. Long was comatose before slowly regaining consciousness. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and 13 broken bones to the spine, neck, shoulder blades, sternum and ribs.

An outpouring of community support for the Long family followed the accident, including a spaghetti dinner held at the Marydel Fire Company aimed at defraying medical bills and a loss of income. Mr. Long, a brick and stone mason, was the family’s lone wage earner at the time of the crash.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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