A drug and alcohol rehabilitation counselor has been charged with drunken driving, assault and handgun violations after he allegedly pointed a loaded handgun at a teen-ager and forced the youth to drive him around the Eastern Shore, police said.
Anthony Michael Clements, 48, an addiction counselor with the Family Service Foundation Inc., was released early Sunday morning on his own recognizance by a District Court commissioner. The commissioner, Florence Simmons, was criticized yesterday by Queen Anne's County Sheriff Charles F. Crossley for releasing a man described by police as drunk and uncooperative.
"I really can't comprehend what the commissioner was thinking," said Sheriff Crossley, who added that he may file additional charges against Mr. Clements. "It's not unusual for a person charged with drunk driving to be released on his own recognizance. But this man had some serious charges and was uncooperative."
Commissioner Simmons refused last night to respond to the criticism, saying she wasn't permitted to talk to the press about her cases.
The incident began about 10 p.m. Saturday when David M. Lowman, 18, and five other teen-agers found Mr. Clements, of the 4300 block of Solomons Island Road in Harwood, sitting in a truck that had run off Love Point Road on Kent Island, police said.
The youngsters helped pull the vehicle from the ditch and offered to drive Mr. Clements home because he looked intoxicated, said Gordon Moore, David Lowman's stepfather.
Mr. Moore said two of the youngsters got into the truck and drove off with the other teen-agers following in two other vehicles.
But then, according to police, Mr. Clements took a loaded .45-caliber handgun from beneath the seat and forced the two youngsters in his car to drive him through Kent County into lower Queen Anne's County.
When the truck came to a halt at a stop sign, the two teen-agers fled. They then got in another car with their friends, police said.
The youngsters drove until they found and stopped a deputy sheriff and state trooper, who arrested Mr. Clements moments later.
Police said they found a loaded .45-caliber handgun that was cocked with one round in the chamber in Mr. Clements' truck along with a bottle of vodka. They said he failed a field sobriety test.
Mr. Clements, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, was charged with drunken driving, assaulting one of the youngsters by pointing a handgun at him and two handgun violations.
Ms. Simmons released him about 3 a.m. Sunday. The decision outraged Mr. Moore, who said he believed one of the teen-agers "could have easily been killed."
"How can the court commissioner say he didn't represent a threat to society?" Mr. Moore asked. "Here is a guy who was drunk and driving around in his truck with a loaded gun. To me that is not normal."