Still shaken by what he witnessed from across the intersection of Bel Air Road and Route 24, a man who would only call himself 'Stephen' recalls what he saw as his wife got ready to pull their car into the Harford Mall.
"She screamed and I looked up and just out in front... there wasn't too many cars in the lane at the time... I saw the van. Flames were up in the air."
A few seconds later, Stephen spotted signs of life from the burning vehicle.
"That's when I saw the passenger side door fling open and then the 16-year old boy at the time got out and so at this point in time, I saw the look on his face. It looked like he was in complete shock and he was standing there facing away from the vehicle."
16-year old Michael Boulan survived the crash and subsequent fire.
"You got to imagine something like this – it's a crash. It's only in a matter of seconds that you have time to get out of the car,” said Bel Air Police Chief Charles Moore, “The mother may have said something to him – 'Get out of this car quickly.' He escaped. A bystander took him from the scene for a brief amount of time to likely insulate him from what was happening there at the moment."
Investigators returned to the nearby mall parking lot on this day looking for answers to questions still surrounding the vehicle's erratic path before it struck the tree.
"Was there a mechanical problem with the vehicle before the crash that caused her to enter into the center median not once, but twice? Enter into the center median and subsequently crash into the tree?" said Moore.
Whatever the cause, a family is now left struggling to deal with tragic deaths of a mother and her young child, as are witnesses at the scene who tried to rescue them in vain.
"A few people with fire extinguishers couldn't get close enough with the flames. I can only imagine it was way too hot to even get close and it was just tragic,” said Stephen, “Everybody at that point in time was running toward the mall parking lot and that's when I kind of got a feeling that maybe there was somebody still trapped inside."
The Bel Air Police are referring any of the citizens or rescue personnel who are struggling with this tragedy to call the Harford County Mobile Crisis Services for help.
The number is 410-638-5248, and the service is available each day from eight in the morning until midnight.