Pedestrian In Fatality Identified As Local; Man In Stable Condition After Different Accident Same Night

OCEAN CITY — In two separate incidents a little less than two hours apart last weekend, an Ocean City man was killed after dashing in front of a police cruiser on Coastal Highway and a Walkersville, Md. man was struck while crossing the highway in a different area but has been moved from critical to stable condition.

Maryland State Police (MSP) are investigating a fatal pedestrian-vehicle collision on Coastal Highway last Saturday night when a local man crossed the roadway into the path of an oncoming MSP trooper’s vehicle. The preliminary investigation indicates around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, MSP Master Trooper James Price was traveling northbound on Coastal Highway in the center lane at 76th Street.

A pedestrian reportedly darted into the street and into oncoming traffic, directly into the path of the trooper’s patrol vehicle. Price attempted to take evasive action, but was unable to avoid striking the pedestrian. The victim was transported by ambulance to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The victim did not have any identification on him at the time of the collision. However, MSP investigators this week determined his identity as Thomas Lawlor, 57, of Ocean City. Price, who was uninjured in the collision, is a 17-year veteran of the MSP assigned to the Princess Anne barrack.

Price was on duty assisting the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) with road patrol during the Endless Summer Cruisin event in the resort last weekend. During many of the vehicle-related special events in the shoulder season, the OCPD enlists assistance from its allied law enforcement agencies in the area.

Price was operating his agency-issued, marked Ford Explorer at the time of the incident. He has been placed on administrative leave, which is routine whenever a MSP trooper is involved in a departmental incident. The MSP CRASH Team is conducting the investigation. Upon completion, the results of the investigation will be presented to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. Investigators are seeking anyone who may have witnessed the collision. Witnesses are urged to contact the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.

A little less than two hours later, another pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Coastal Highway near the intersection at 54th Street. The preliminary investigation revealed around 1:15 a.m., a 1998 Chevy Camaro was driving south on Coastal Highway and struck a pedestrian at 54th Street.

The investigation revealed the pedestrian, a 19-year-old male from Walkersville, Md., was just north of the crosswalk at 54th Street and the traffic signal was green for the vehicle that struck him. The victim was flown to Peninsula Regional Medical Center by MSP Trooper 4. The victim’s condition was listed as critical initially, but OCPD officials confirmed this week his condition was upgraded to stable and he is expected to recover although he remains in the hospital.

The driver, an unidentified 36-year-old male from Salisbury, was not injured in the collision. The investigation is ongoing, according to OCPD officials, but no charges had been filed as of mid-week. The second pedestrian-vehicle collision early last Sunday morning occurred in an area set for the first phase of the dune-style median fence project set to begin next week.

The State Highway Administration (SHA) throughout the winter will install a fence down the center median of Coastal Highway designed to resemble the familiar dune fencing in the resort. In addition, the project includes an enhanced lighting system for the highway in the project area. The first phase will run from Route 90, or the 62nd Street area, to the Convention Center around 41st Street. The first-phase area was chosen because it has historically seen the most pedestrian-vehicle collisions. The intent is to continue the project for the entire length of the highway in future phases.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.