BERLIN – Local law enforcement agencies this week are still trying to figure out a bizarre incident last weekend that included a vehicle overturned and under water in a roadside ditch without an occupant, a search of the surrounding area including divers and, finally, the discovery of the victim unconscious in his home nearby with serious head and chest injuries.
Around 8:30 a.m. last Saturday, Worcester County Emergency Services received a 911 call from a motorist concerning a vehicle off the roadway, overturned and under water along Friendship Rd. near its intersection with Cathell Rd. in Berlin. The caller told responders the vehicle was an SUV but it was unknown at the time if anyone was still in it because it was largely under water.
Responding officers immediately plunged into the icy water in an attempt to gain access to the vehicle, but were unable to breach the doors or windows. Berlin Fire/Rescue units arrived on the scene and were able to right the SUV, the roof of which was collapsed. Using Hurst tools and other gear, rescue crews were able to gain access to the passenger compartment of the vehicle, but no one was located inside.
Fire and rescue crews embarked on a search of the immediate area surrounding the collision site but turned up nothing. Divers from the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) searched the waters surrounding the crash site but again, no victim was located. Investigators were able to locate the vehicle’s registration and found it was registered to Timothy Dean Cooper, 41, of Berlin.
Detectives then responded to Cooper’s residence on Windmill Rd. nearby, and because of the high probability of serious injuries sustained by the occupant or occupants of the vehicle based on the damage to the SUV, gained entrance to the residence. Once inside, investigators reportedly found Cooper unconscious and lying in his bed with severe injuries including head and chest trauma.
With the arrival of Maryland State Police investigators, Cooper awoke and was somewhat responsive, according to police reports. He was taken by Berlin EMS to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. During the investigation, it was learned a passing motorist picked up Cooper following the accident and took the victim to his home on Windmill Rd.
As of mid-week, Maryland State Police investigators were still trying to determine who picked up Cooper and took him home. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending. Anyone with information concerning the investigation is urged to call the state police Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.