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Police: Fatal Washington County wreck caused by 'gross negligence'

| Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Yevgeniy Bugreyev, of West Sacramento, Calif., is a truck driver who has been charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle in the deaths of Karen Leigh Babka and her daughter, Kaitlin Young Babka, both of Hughesville, Md.

A California truck driver killed a mother and daughter, and injured four in a Washington County crash on Saturday because of “gross negligence,” a state police trooper said.

Police charged Yevgeniy Bugreyev, 44, of West Sacramento with two counts of homicide by vehicle less than five hours after authorities said his tractor-trailer veered across a grassy median into the path of two oncoming cars.

“The bottom line is he killed two people. The gross negligence of it is that he crossed into an oncoming lane of travel,” Trooper Todd M. Stevenson said.

Bugreyev was being held Monday at Washington County Correctional Facility on $1 million bond.

Police don't know what caused Bugreyev to land in oncoming traffic, colliding with a Dodge Charger before being struck by a Chevy Trailblazer. Both women in the car — identified as Karen Babka, 57, and Kaitlin Babka, 21, both of Hughesville, Md. — died. Four people in the SUV were hurt.

“They were just wonderful and very kind people. Kaitlin's smile made the room a little brighter, and we have some people reeling,” said the Rev. Todd Crofford, pastor of the Real Life Christian Church in Mechanicsville, Md., to which the Babkas belonged.

Washington County District Attorney Eugene A. Vittone II said the investigation continues.

“There's more to it than it being just an accident. We're doing some other investigation on a couple of different things,” Vittone said. He declined to elaborate.

Police said Bugreyev drove for South Carolina-based DC Transport. Andrew Romanov, operations manager for DC Transport in West Sacramento, Calif., said the company was not involved in the accident and does not employ Bugreyev.

Authorities placed DC Transport vehicles out of service after discovering violations in 24 of 77 inspections in the past two years, a rate of 31.2 percent, federal records show. The national average is 20.7 percent. Authorities also placed DC Transport company drivers out of service after discovering violations in nine of 132 inspections, a rate of 6.8 percent that exceeds the national average of 5.5 percent.

Records showed six violations for unsafe driving, the most serious for driving more than 15 mph over the speed limit, records show.

Visitation for Karen and Kaitlin Babka is scheduled for 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday in Wilson Funeral Home in Bridgeport, Ohio. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in Holly Memorial Garden in Pleasant Grove, Ohio.

Kaitlin Babka was engaged and planned to attend the University of Maryland after graduating next month from the College of Southern Maryland, said Wilson Funeral Home director Jerry Fiutem.

Tribune-Review staff writers Tim Puko and Tory Parrish contributed. Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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