Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

WEST COUNTY --

February 19, 1993

Police officer honored for underwater rescue

A county police officer who has been on the force for two years received the department's highest honor last night for rescuing a person trapped in an upside-down car submerged in the Patuxent River.

Officer Jeffrey Fratantuono, who works in the Western District station in Odenton, received the Department Medal of Honor at the annual awards banquet. Four other officers, including two military police, and one civilian received commendations for their work at the accident scene.

The crash occurred Nov. 22, just after 2 a.m., when a car traveling on Route 198 on Fort Meade went out of control, crashed through a guardrail and landed upside down in the Patuxent River.

Officer Stephen Swann arrived at the scene first and got the passenger safely to the bank. Officer Swann, Sgt. William King and a civilian, David B. Dacko, waded into the surging water and tried to turn the car upright.

After about five minutes, the three realized that the driver -- whose leg was caught -- was still in the car, alive.

Officer Fratantuono, who had just arrived on the scene, waded into the water and was able to unlock the passenger-side door. He ducked under the water, entered the car and pulled the driver to safety.

"Officer Fratantuono performed this courageous act thinking only the occupants and not the personal risk to himself," the department said.

Sergeant King, a 24-year veteran, and Officer Swann, with 17 years on the force, each received a Silver Star Award for their actions at the scene.

Mr. Dacko and military police officers Sgt. Craig Medd and Spec. Jeffrey L. Zankel received citizen commendations.

Meade official to discuss horse stables

The garrison commander at Fort Meade will answer questions tonight from people concerned that the horse stables, used by at least 37 people, may soon shut down.

The forum is set for 5:30 p.m. at the McGill Recreation Center, next to the Murphy Field House on Zimborski Avenue, south of Mapes Road.

Concern over the stables and the auto craft shop and the wood shop, has grown over the past few weeks as Garrison Commander Col. Kent D. Menser began management reviews.

All three operations have run deficits. No tax dollars are used to support them. Deficits are covered using money generated by other operations, such as the base golf course.

It cost the base $58,300 last year to run the stables, which are off Route 32 on what is property owned by the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The stables ran a $7,000 deficit in fiscal year 1992.

The stables are used by 15 active-duty military officials, three retired military officials, 11 family members who live on post and eight Department of Defense civilians.

At a meeting with Odenton residents Wednesday night, Colonel Menser said he doesn't know what will happen to the horses. "We are in a bit of a quandary," he said. "Will they go away. I don't flat know. We don't own the buildings anymore. We don't own the land."

On Tuesday, Colonel Menser held a forum on the the auto craft shop, which was attended by about 40 people. Last year's operating expenses were $231,400, but revenues only totaled $83,200, leaving a $148,200 deficit.

The forum on the wood shop, used by 34 people, will be held Feb. 24 at 7 p.m., also in the McGill Recreation Center.

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