Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at email@example.com.
Trooper built house, planned to wed
Some of the people closest to Adam Bowen, the Virginia State Police trooper killed Friday night in King George County, heard about his crash in the worst possible way.
Bowen, 28, and his fiancée, Rachel Michie, were supposed to get married in less than two weeks. She’s a dispatcher in the King George Sheriff’s Office, and she was working Friday night. She heard the 911 calls about a horrific accident involving a trooper whose cruiser was split in half after it struck a traffic-light pole.
Michie was at the Sheriff’s Office, less than two miles from where the accident happened. It occurred at the intersection of State Route 3 and Madison Drive, the entrance to the Presidential Lakes subdivision. That’s just west of King George Courthouse.
Meanwhile, Bowen’s older brother, Kevin, is a paramedic in Richmond County. Soon after the 6:45 p.m. crash, he heard scanner traffic about a King George accident involving a state trooper.
He called his father, Glenn, in a panic, wanting to know if his little brother was working that night.
“It couldn’t have been any worse,” said John Hoover, a friend of the Bowen family.
Hoover and Glenn Bowen spoke with The Free Lance–Star yesterday as friends, neighbors and law enforcement officials stopped by the Montross area where several Bowen family members live.
They offered condolences and shared stories about Adam Maynard Bowen and his almost lifelong desire to be a state trooper.
Adam Bowen was responding to another trooper’s call for help when he died. He was traveling westbound on Route 3, and when he entered the intersection with Madison Drive he collided with an eastbound Hyundai Elantra.
The impact forced the patrol car off the road and into the light pole. The car split in half. The back part was wrapped around the pole, and the front part continued into the parking lot of the First Lady’s Centre, where it hit three parked cars.
Bowen was thrown from the car and died at the scene. State police say he was wearing a seat belt.
Police didn’t provide any other details yesterday, saying its accident reconstruction team is still investigating.
Hoover, a former state trooper who’s currently a major in the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office, said he wasn’t surprised that Bowen was going to the aid of another trooper. That was the whole reason he wanted to be a policeman, Hoover said.
“If you needed help, he’d run through that brick wall to get to you,” Hoover said, standing outside Glenn Bowen’s home and motioning toward the house.
“Adam took pride in being the wing man, the guy who would back up the other person,” his father said.
Glenn Bowen had trouble summing up what he wanted others to remember about his son. “I’m going to tell you a story,” he said yesterday.
He recalled when Adam was a student at Washington & Lee High School in Montross. One of his teachers got sick and had to be rushed to the hospital. As soon as the school day ended, Adam went to the hospital to check on his teacher.
“That’s what he was all about,” Hoover added. “He wanted to save lives.”
Adam Bowen graduated from W&L in 2001, but he wanted to be a state policeman long before that.
Malcolm Lewis, the athletic director at W&L, taught Bowen in middle school, and remembers him talking about being a state trooper “from the minute I met him.”
Lewis worried that Bowen didn’t have the physical stature for the job. He was a small kid in middle school, and even as an adult probably weighed about 130 pounds and was 5 feet tall, his father said.
But he and his father and their friend Hoover developed a strategy to get Adam Bowen onto the police force. After high school graduation, Bowen worked at the Haynesville Correctional Center near Warsaw, then joined the U.S. Air Force National Guard. During his five-year enlistment he spent nine months in Kirkuk, Iraq, where his unit was involved in firefights and hit by explosive devices, his father said.
Bowen served in the security forces, then applied for the state police job when he returned.
He graduated from the state police academy in July 2008 and was assigned to King George.
Not long after, he visited his old high school. “When he came into the school with his uniform on, we were tickled to death,” Lewis said.
The Rev. Willard Bowen, who isn’t related to the Bowen family, was Adam Bowen’s pastor when the future state trooper was in high school. He baptized him in 2001 at Oak Grove Baptist Church and has kept up with him over the years.
He recently saw Adam Bowen in Walmart and heard his good news.
“He told me how happy he was to be a trooper and how he was looking forward to his wedding date,” the pastor said yesterday in a telephone interview.
Willard Bowen also said the state trooper had built a house in December. It sits between the home of his grandfather Randolph Bowen and that of his father, amid flat fields of wheat, soybeans and corn.
Adam Bowen’s parents are divorced, and his mother, Sue, lives near Warsaw.
King George Sheriff Steve Dempsey said his office worked well—and often—with Trooper Bowen.
“He was friendly, absolutely a pleasure to work with and very supportive of our office,” Dempsey said, adding that the trooper’s death “is just said in every way. It’s something that words can’t express.”
CRASH INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
About a mile of State Route 3 in King George County was shut down, in both directions, from 7 p.m. Friday night to 3 a.m. yesterday morning after the fatal crash of Virginia State Trooper Adam Bowen. The road was closed from Pern’s Grocery, near Comorn, to the King George Post Office.
Deputies with the King George Sheriff’s Office handled detours and traffic control. They were assisted by several officers from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, including Sheriff Charles Jett.
Traffic was diverted so the Virginia State Police Accident Reconstruction Team could do its investigation.
Police did not release any details about Bowen’s rate of speed, the nature of the call he was responding to or the circumstances surrounding the crash, because the investigation is continues.
At the crash scene yesterday morning there weren’t any noticeable skid marks, just one set of ruts on the ground in front of the light pole. Several flags, flowers and balloon arrangements had been placed at the base of the pole.
The driver and passenger in the Hyundai Elantra that Bowen hit were transported to Mary Washington Hospital and treated for minor injuries.