Solve Crime Of Week Not A Scratch

Police and fire scan

December 19, 1990

WESTMINSTER - Crime Solvers, a volunteer group that assists area police, is asking residents to help solve the Crime of the Week.

This week, the group is targeting the disappearance of a fugitive wanted by the Maryland State Police in Westminster, the Carroll Sheriff's Department and the Westminster City Police.

John Nicholas Coker is described by police as a white male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with brown hair and blue eyes.

He weighs about 160 pounds and was born on Sept. 3, 1962.

He also is known as John Raymond Coker and John Raymond Coles. Police say his last known address is on Snydersburg Road in Hampstead.

He is wanted by the three police agencies on numerous bench warrants for failing to appear for trial and fraud.

If you have any information on Coker, or believe you may know where he is living or working, please call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-TIPS.

You do not need to give your name, and if your information leads to an arrest, you could earn up to a $1,000 fine.


WESTMINSTER -- Until January, you don't have to worry so much about your parking meter running out while you are shopping downtown.

As it has for the last few holiday seasons, the city will not issue $5 parking meter tickets through the month of December, at the request of downtown merchants.

The policy is not well-publicized because merchants and city police are afraid it will be abused.

Regulations on the city's permit parking lots will continue.

City Police Corp. Rick May said about 350 parking meter tickets are issued each month.


CARROLLTOWNE -- The body of a 39-year-old Baltimore man who apparently committed suicide was pulled from the Liberty Reservoir Saturday afternoon by state police and natural resource police divers.

State police in Westminster were called at 2:40 a.m. by an off-duty Baltimore County police cadet to investigate an abandoned vehicle on the eastbound side of the Route 26 bridge over the reservoir.

When they arrived at the bridge, state troopers found an unidentified car with the motor running and the lights on. They suspected the driver had jumped from the bridge and alerted the divers.

At 1 p.m., the divers found the body in 75 to 100 feet of water.

Cinderblocks were tied to the man's feet with rope, police said.

He was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore, where the cause of death was still being investigated Tuesday.


WESTMINSTER -- Two separate car accidents in the city Tuesday afternoon caused minor injuries and tied up traffic, police reported.

The first accident occurred at 12:07 p.m. at the intersection of North Court and North Center streets.

City Police Cpl. Rick May said the accident occurred when Timmie Miles, 45, of the 5500 block of Woodenhawk Circle in Columbia, was traveling southbound on North Center Street and was unable to stop behind another car traveling southbound.

Miles, who was driving his 1990 Ford Escort, rear-ended a 1982 Ford station wagon driven by 50-year-old Charles Gatuso of the 100 block of East Main Street in Westminster.

Gatuso's car was stopped in the southbound lane, waiting for the car in front to turn left, May said.

After Miles's car hit Gatuso's, the back swung out and hit a northbound Westminster City patrol car driven by Pfc. Michael Bible.

Miles was charged with failure to control speed to avoid a collision, May said.

A separate accident just 23 minutes later tied up traffic at Route 140 and Center Street for about an hour, May said.

May said the accident occurred when Frank Arrieta, 86, of the 100 block of South Ralph Street in Westminster, attempted to make a left turn onto Center Street from the center lanes of Route 140.

Arrieta's 1972 Ford was struck broadside by a westbound 1977 Ford driven by Louise Mathis, 30, of the 500 block of North Gorsuch Road in Westminster, May said.

Arrieta, Mathis and her 2-year-old son, Justin, were taken to Carroll County General Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

Arrieta was charged with making a left turn from an improper lane.


WESTMINSTER -- A 16-year-old city youth led Westminster police, state police and Taneytown police on a 15-minute high-speed chase early Tuesday that ended at a roadblock on Route 140, police reported.

City Police Cpl. Rick May said the chase began at 1:48 a.m. when Sgt.

Keith Sautter saw a 1982 GMC Suburban cross the center line on Hahn Road and drive on the wrong side of the road for 100 feet.

When Sautter activated his siren and lights, the vehicle accelerated and turned onto Route 140, May said.

The youth was reportedly driving 80 mph in the westbound lanes of Route 140.

Sautter alerted the state police, who called Taneytown police because the youth was heading in that direction, May said.

Taneytown police attempted to slow the vehicle down on Mayberry Road, but the youth passed them on the right shoulder.

He then eluded a state police roadblock on Taneytown Road, May said.

The youth was caught and arrested at a second roadblock on Route 140.

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