Case against Savage fire chief dropped NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

February 03, 1993|By Alan J. Craver and Jackie Powder | Alan J. Craver and Jackie Powder,Staff Writers

The state's attorney's office has dismissed criminal charges against the chief of the Savage Volunteer Fire Company at the request of the parties involved in the case.

Ernest W. Foster was to stand trial on assault and disturbing the peace charges before District Judge Louis Becker yesterday for a Sept. 22 confrontation with a professional paramedic.

"The [decision to drop the charges] has been reached through an agreement of both parties who have asked the state's attorney's office to dismiss the case," Assistant State's Attorney Timothy Mitchell said.

"We just felt it was in the best interest of all parties involved to settle our differences without going to court," said Chris Shimer, president of the Howard County Professional Firefighter's Association.

"The issue is resolved; I can't say there's any bad feelings about it," he said.

Andrew Lester, a paramedic at the Rivers Park station in Columbia, filed a complaint in Howard District Court following a confrontation with Chief Foster at the Savage fire hall on Sept. 22.

Mr. Lester contended that the volunteer chief charged at him and threatened to harm him.

Mr. Lester and Douglas Levy, spokesman for the Savage volunteer department, declined to comment yesterday. Mr. Foster could not be reached.

Chief Foster, 44, of the 8900 block of Baltimore St., has denied Mr. Lester's allegations. He has been chief of the Savage company off and on for a total of eight years.

The dispute between the men erupted after Mr. Lester criticized the volunteer company for permitting a member who had been convicted of assault to continue working. A professional firefighter would have been held to a higher standard, Mr. Lester said.

The assault case against Chief Foster was to be settled without a trial in November, with Mr. Lester agreeing to drop the charges.

But Mr. Lester broke off the agreement, saying that he wanted Chief Foster to be held accountable for the incident.

The paramedic also had criticized county officials for disbanding a commission to investigate the incident and determine if disciplinary action should be taken against Chief Foster.

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