Propane Grill Explodes

Police and fire scan

July 17, 1991

MOUNT AIRY — A couple was injured and their house caught fire Sunday night when their propane gas grill exploded.

The explosion occurred about 7:15p.m. at the home of Larry and Martha Stottlemyer, said Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas.

It was the fourth propane gas fire in Maryland in two weeks. The most serious killed a Perryville woman and injured 34 other people onJuly 6 in Harford County.

The Stottlemyers received second-degreeburns, and the blast set their house on fire, causing $70,000 damage.

Thomas said the couple was using a barbecue grill with a propanegas bottle when the grill overheated allowing the relief valve to open. The escaping gas was ignited by the grill, creating a fireball.

They were treated by their private physician.

SEARCH ON FOR ESCAPEE

DATELINE: WESTMINSTER

State police were still searching late yesterday for an inmate of the Sykesville Central Laundry Pre-Release Unit who walked away from a work detail early Monday morning.

Police said Edwin Paul Witte, 28, of Greenbelt walked away from a group of inmates who were doing some work at the State Highway Administration office on Pennsylvania Avenue near Route 140 around 8:25 a.m.

Wittewas serving eight years in prison for credit card fraud, police said.

He is described as a white male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighing 170 pounds.

He has brown hair and hazel eyes, police said.

Anyone with information about Witte is asked to call the state policein Westminster at 848-3111.

MEDNICK GETS PROBATION

DATELINE: WESTMINSTER

A county psychotherapist was found guilty yesterday of felonytheft charges in connection with an insurance fraud.

Steven M. Mednick, owner of the Carroll County Family Counseling Center, was convicted of the theft by Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr.

Mednick, host of Carroll Community Television's "Counselor's Corner," pleaded not guilty to the charge, but Burns convicted him after listening to a statement of facts in the case read by Assistant State's Attorney David Littrell.

According to court records, Mednick was charged with double- and triple-billing Blue Cross/Blue Shield from May 14,1989, to Aug. 26, 1990.

Burns gave Mednick probation before judgment and placed him on probation for five years. In a probation beforejudgment, no guilty verdict will be recorded unless Mednick violatesthe conditions of his probation.

Mednick's probation conditions include a $1,000 fine and $5,250 in restitution to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Mednick could have faced 15 years in prison for the theft charge.

He was arrested Nov. 7, 1990, after city police searched and seized records from his business on Main Street.

Police became involved in the case after a client of Mednick's who worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield noticed irregularities on her bill.

Two civilian inspectors from the insurance company then posed as patients and made appointments with Mednick. They reported that over the course of several months, Mednick was double- and triple-billing the company.

William Stephens, director of the special investigations unit at Blue Cross/Blue Shield, said the company was happy with the judge's decision.

He said the company is considering filing a civil suit against Mednick, but that no decision had been made about it late yesterday.

WOMAN LISTED CRITICAL

DATELINE: NEW WINDSOR

An 18-year-old John Selby Road woman was listed in critical but stable condition late yesterday after a weekend accident on Wakefield Church Road.

State police said Kara Michelle Gregg was traveling eastbound on Wakefield Church Road around 10:35 a.m. when her car ran off the right roadside.

As Gregg attempted to gain control of the car, she overcompensated, and the car started skidding back onto the right roadside, police said.

It then struck a telephone police and flipped over, police said.

Gregg was taken by New Windsor Volunteer Fire Company ambulance to Carroll County General Hospital.

From the hospital, she was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Unit at University Hospital in Baltimore.

SOLVE CRIME OF WEEK

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 a breaking, entering and theft at a home in the 6300 block of Oklahoma Road in Eldersburg May 30.

Police believe the burglary occurred between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m..

Items stolen from the home include a Panasonic video camera, an 18-inch pearl necklace, an Olympus 35mm camera with a brown leather case, several Olympus camera lenses and a Yashica 35mm camera.

The back door of the home was kicked in to gain entrance, police said.

If you have any information about this crime, or believe you may know who is involved, please call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-TIPS.

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

CARROLL LEADS IN SAFETY

DATELINE: WESTMINSTER

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