Prosecutor Defends Office, Investigation
I have been reading articles in your paper and other local papers for a few weeks now, unable to respond because it is unethical for a prosecutor to make remarks about a pending investigation. The investigation is now over, and I can remark.
First of all, I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family of Tyler Adams, who lost his life in Ocean City this past summer season. I regret that the law in the State of Maryland does not provide for a stiffer punishment for someone responsible for such an unfortunate incident.
Here are the facts, as uncovered by the Ocean City Police Department. On June 17, a Jeep driven by Brian Scott struck and killed Tyler Adams, a pedestrian, who was crossing Coastal Highway, outside of the pedestrian crosswalk, just south of 33rd Street. Police were already on the scene for an unrelated event and have assured my office that the suspect made no attempt to flee.
An article from another paper indicated that the pedestrian was “thrown across the highway”. A careful look at the Collision Analysis would have shown the reporter that the body was thrown from the center lane to partially within the left lane and the median strip. The Collision Analysis expert indicated to my office that had the vehicle been traveling at the speeds estimated by the civilian witnesses, the pedestrian would have been killed instantly and his body would have been thrown into the north bound lanes of traffic, and there would have been amputation of some body appendages. None of that existed in this case, and in fact Mr. Adams was not dead at the scene but died sometime later.
Under Maryland law, there are two kinds of homicide related to a motor vehicle. Neither of those two events existed in this case. The easiest to prove, normally, is the charge of Homicide by Motor Vehicle while Impaired. To prove that charge, the State must prove that the suspect was driving negligently, while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and that his negligent driving caused the death of another. In this case, Mr. Scott took a breath test, the results of which were .05. By Maryland law it is presumed that a person with a blood alcohol content of .05 or less is not impaired. Therefore, this charge could not be filed against Mr. Scott as a matter of state law. There was no evidence at all that Scott had been consuming drugs.
The second potential charge would have been manslaughter by motor vehicle. To prove this charge, alcohol is not needed, although it is a factor to be considered if it does exist. However, the State must show gross negligence or a wanton and reckless disregard for human life. Those facts did not exist in this case.
The objective, scientific evidence, known as a “Collision Reconstruction Analysis”, a study made by a trained expert, based on physics and geometry, indicates that the vehicle was traveling between 27 mph and 35 mph at the time it struck the pedestrian. Civilian witnesses have made other statements, including one that the vehicle was traveling 55-60 mph, but these statements are inconsistent with the objective data collected from the scene of the collision. The posted speed limit in that area is 35 mph.
He was negligent in not looking out for a pedestrian and probably ran a red light, although there is even some dispute on this fact. This hardly constitutes a wanton and reckless disregard for human life.
There was no alcohol in the suspect’s vehicle, despite press reports to the contrary.
From the beginning, this case has been handled by the Ocean City Police Department, as well as by my office, in an objective, ethical and professional manner. I must enforce the law as enacted. It is inappropriate to respond to an investigation in an emotional manner and a prosecutor cannot prosecute a suspect just to give a victim or his family a degree of satisfaction. The prosecutor must, as did I, apply the law to the facts, objectively and professionally, and then prosecute the appropriate charges.
Joel J. Todd
(The writer is the Worcester County State’s Attorney.)
Council Needs To Punish Project
In 1990, we had a modular home built in Montego Bay. The Ocean City building inspector visited the site regularly. The contractor erected four steps and a landing up to our front porch. The O.C. inspector deemed our steps and landing to be ¾-inch too high and would not pass them. Imagine, 3/4 inches from ground to landing. The contractor had to take them down and start over.
By contrast, the Rivendell project is five feet over the original approved POD plan. The builder has made other unapproved changes to the plans and has not satisfied the neighbors. Yet, the Planning Commission has given approval.
The project violations will come before the O.C. Council. In my estimation, if the council gives approval, without severe punishment, we are inviting future builders to amend building plans as they see fit.
John E. McDermott
On Sept. 29, I was riding my bike up St. Louis Avenue to the 5th Street post office to mail a package. The box was small, 12" x 12" x 8". I was riding in the bike lane on the right side of the road. An Ocean city Police car pulled up next to me and the officer asked "What is under your arm and where are you going?" The box was a USPS Priority Mail box, it was white with a blue post office stripe, they give them out free at the post office.
My first thought was "Does this guy think I have something in the box I shouldn’t have? Does he think I am some kind of terrorist?" I replied "Its a package, I am going to the post office to mail it." Then he turns on his lights and makes me pull over on my bike. Now I am thinking that he is going to make me open the box and show him what’s inside. He then informs me that it is against the law to ride a bike without both hands on the handlebars. "Really?" I say, and he says he can show me the law and give me a $60 ticket, too.
At this point, I cannot believe that I was pulled over for riding a bike one handed. The officer says he is not going to ticket me and that I should ride on Edgewater Avenue. I point out to him that we are between 3rd and 4th streets and that we can almost see the Post Office. So I put the package on the handlebars and move both hands in close enough to hold it and ride to the Post Office.
I really cannot believe that the Ocean City police have nothing better to do than to pull over someone on a bike because they are riding with only one hand. It seems to me that every week they are getting bashed for something in the local newspapers, maybe they deserve every bit of it. My guess is the officer saw me and asked himself "What is he doing wrong?" and he found something. I think the Ocean City police really don’t get it.
A Wonderful Job
What a great job the dedicated volunteers from “Star Charities” and the decorating committee provided at our “Star Charities Dinner Dance & Seafood Buffet” for the benefit of the “Interfaith Caregivers”. We are proud to help Dr. David Herr, Executive Director, and he received a check for $1,220. Those of you who could not attend our event missed excellent and plentiful food from Phillips Restaurant and dancing to that fantastic live band “The Velvetones” Sharon Sorrentino and Company kept the crowded room laughing and entertained with George Burns & Gracie (Ron Thomson and Judy Nelson), Professor Patty O’ Furniture Comedy (Charles Sorrentino), singing by the Destination Harmony Quartet (Fran Mancino, Barbara Preese, Sharon Sorrentino and Joanne Masone). A new soloist Katerina Burton kept the people’s attention as she sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow. This event was held at the American Legion Post 123 in Berlin.
We want to thank one of our committee members, Irmgard Heinecke from Ocean Pines, for the donation of a basket of cheer worth $150. The lucky winner of the basket was Gayle Schriler. The 50/50 winner was Mary Yenney of Ocean Pines.
We also want to thank Burt Raymond who donated two beautifully framed stamp collections as well as all the kind restaurants who donated dinners for our door prizes. We were honored to have Commander Sarge Garlitz from the American Legion Post 166 and some of the members attend our event as well as the kind people who attended making this event such a big success.
We also want to thank some of the Star Charities Committee who are Eileen Salafia, Rosemary Garlitz, Delores Koch, Irmgard Heinecke, Teddie Rozzano and Mary Yenney.
Anna and Carl Foultz
Women Supporting Women (WSW) would like to express its appreciation to the sponsors, donors and volunteers at the 18th running of the Marian Colbert Invitational at Deer Run on Sept. 1. The event raised about $16,000 for breast cancer support in the local area. Thanks go to the tournament sponsors: Peninsula Rehab & Sports Medicine of west and north Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach, The Embers Restaurant & Chophouse, Castle in the Sand Atlantic/Smith, Cropper & Deeley Insurance and Seacrets.
Hole sponsors were Charlene Abele, The Adkins Company, Atlantic General Hospital, Autumn Grove Stables, Barrett of Berlin, BB&T Bank, Bishop’s Stock, Dr. Michele Brauning, Burbage Funeral Home, Candy Kitchen Shoppes, Carousel Resort Hotel & Condominiums, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Clarion Resort Hotel Fountainbleu, Dave’s Taxi, Elks Golf Associates, Ocean City, Elks Golf-Salisbury Lodge, Farmers Bank of Willards, Fosbury Family, Francis Scott Key Motel, Fresco’s Restaurant, Galaxy 66 Restaurant & Grille & Lovin’ Life Limos, Golf Car Specialists, Gismondi/Allstate Insurance, Louise Gulyas, Hospitality Hotel Group/ Comfort Inn Gold Coast Mall & Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, In Memory of Chris Rebel from the Gallagher Family, Kokkinos Creative Jewelers, Lioness Club of Berlin, M&T Bank, Ocean Pines Branch, Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grille, Karen Prengaman, Red Men/Tony Tank Tribe #149, Reister & Associates, Roadrunner Enterprises, Salisbury Physical Therapy & Sportsmedicine, Talbots, Inc., and Whiskers Pub, Ocean City.
Prize donors were Deer Run Golf Club, Baywood Greens, The Beach Club, Glen Riddle Golf, Eagles Landing, Seaford Golf & Country, Wood Creek Golf, Ocean City Golf & Yacht, Great Hope Golf, Nutter’s Crossing Golf Club, Pine Shore North, Ocean City Golf Getaway, Bob Beckelman Golf, Fred Christian Golf, Buddy Sass Golf, Doyle’s Restaurant, Holt Paper & Chemical, Herr’s Snack Foods, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, Chesapeake Martial Arts, About Faces, OC Nails, OC Factory Outlets, M&T Bank, Talbots, Carol Kenney, Hall’s Restaurant, CVS Pharmacy, Ocean City, Superior Commercial Signs, Tee Time Golf Passes, Turf Trade, Leasco, G.L. Cornell, Genesis Turfgrass, Sports Aggregates, UAP Distributors, Turf Equipment Supply, Berlin Automotive, OC Chamber of Commerce, Randy Falk, State Farm, Comcast Spotlight, Sherwood on the Shore, Jolly Roger Splash Mountain, Outback Steakhouse, Mancini’s, Adam’s Ribs, First Shore Federal Savings Bank, Soft Touch Car Wash, Accurate Optical, Casual Designs, Raimondi’s Florist, Elsworth Wheatley Piano Tuning, Rayne’s Reef, Grease Monkey, Barrett of Berlin, Food Lion, and Precision Sportswear.
Personal donors included Lesley Colbert, Rick Krall and Mark Teany.
Assisting at the event were the Deer Run staff and WSW staff and volunteers. WSW as always appreciates Ed and Margaret Colbert and Deer Run for the resources that they have donated to us over the nine years that we have been the beneficiary of this tournament.
(Peuser is the coordinator of the Berlin area chapter of WSW and Resiter is the vice president of WSW.)
The Ocean Pines general manager’s support of the Yacht Club “manager’s” reprisal against a local newspaper for printing a commentary which revealed OPA’s actual losses at the restaurant in the fiscal year ending April 30, 2007 is truly incredible. The numbers that were published are the OPA’s own numbers and by law are available on request to any lotowner,
Mr. Ruppert was stung by the public revelation of the results of yet another year of incompetent “management” of the Yacht Club restaurant. He should be because during the 11 years Mr. Ruppert has been “manager” of the Yacht Club it has lost money every single year. The average loss has been $117,189 per year, for a whopping grand total of $1,289,082.
These are OPA’s Controller’s numbers without any charges for rent, depreciation, repairs and maintenance, advertising, insurance, or allocation of the cost of OPA’s non-revenue departments. In other words, Mr. Ruppert is operating the restaurant without all of the costs an owner would incur. Obviously, Mr. Rupert could never qualify as “Businessman of the Year”. Anywhere else he’d be out of a job.