Shelter mourns counselor

February 15, 1994|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writer

Many battered women in Baltimore remember Katherine Joanne Hollands as a modern day Joan of Arc, a graceful champion in their hour of need.

Yesterday, friends and colleagues of the 31-year-old former counselor at the House of Ruth struggled with the news that she and her boyfriend, John W. Trumbauer, 38, a self-employed landscaper, had been killed Sunday night when her car crashed into a city salt truck parked on a ramp of the Jones Falls Expressway.

"She was an incredibly dedicated employee. She went far and above and beyond the call," said Carole Alexander, director of the shelter for battered women.

"She would go to court commissioners on the weekend and stay with some women in court for eight to 10 hours each day. She believed in what she was doing."

K. Hollands The accident occurred about 7:45 p.m., when Ms. Hollands' Toyota slammed into the dump truck, which was partially obstructing the Mount Royal Avenue entrance ramp.

Driver Oscar Charles Woodward Jr., 41, who was assigned to clear snow and ice from the expressway, had stopped the truck to await instructions for a new destination.

The truck was straddling the shoulder and the ramp, police reported.

Some of the rear emergency lights were not operating on the truck, which had been parked on the ramp for about 30 minutes. And a thick layer of salt coated the lights, making them hard to see, police and city officials said.

As police and the Department of Public Works investigated the crash, Ms. Hollands was remembered at the House of Ruth for a legacy of tenacity and caring.

Until January, she was a legal advocate at the shelter, providing information to victims, accompanying them to court and advocating on their behalf in criminal courts across Maryland.

Claudette Chandler, who was once stabbed 57 times with an ice pick, got to know Ms. Hollands at the shelter when she was there as a victim.

Ms. Chandler, 59, wept yesterday as she recalled her friend.

"She was one of these women who understood their mission and who stood her ground with a gentle type of ferociousness," she said.

"She was younger, but she was like a sister. She was very wise. She just gave me the strength to learn how to think not to be afraid. She just gave me a new life."

Another victim of domestic abuse, 32-year-old Charlene Clark, said she will never forget Ms. Hollands' concern.

"I was threatened with handguns and everything, and she went to court with me," Ms. Clark said. "She called me at home and reassured me that things were going to work out. She always seemed like she was going to come up with a new idea to keep me and my children safe."

Ms. Hollands recently was hired by the city's Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee, which handles 5,000 complaints of domestic violence each year.

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