2 officers are honored for their bravery

February 25, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County police Cpl. Larry E. Walker decided to end a routine Saturday shift by checking on the charter service he runs at Lee Airport in Edgewater.

That decision helped save a man's life and win Corporal Walker and another police officer, Cpl. Samuel F. Worsham, the department's highest honor.

Their quick response on the afternoon of April 17, 1993, saved the life of Frederickus Johannas Giltay, a passenger in a plane that crashed in a cornfield between Lee Airport and the Southern District station at Virginia Avenue and Solomons Island Road in Edgewater.

The pilot, Brian Keith Duffy, was killed.

The two Southern District police officers received the Department Medal of Honor at the second annual Public Safety Awards Banquet, held Wednesday night at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

Corporals Walker, 47, and Worsham, 48, had just wrapped up what both said had been a fairly routine day shift that Saturday afternoon.

Corporal Walker, a 25-year veteran of the county police force, has been flying for 20 years. He has been a commercial pilot for 10 years and a flight instructor for six.

"When I saw the airplane come across the runway, I felt something was wrong. It went into a bank. The altitude was about 150 feet. It went end-over-end before it crashed."

Corporal Worsham watched the scene unfold from the Southern District building.

"I saw the plane coming down as I was pulling out of the police station lot. I saw it hit the power lines and flip over in the field," the 20-year veteran of the county police force said.

"The plane exploded when it hit the ground," remembered Corporal Worsham.

"It looked like the wing tank on the right side [exploded]. Most of the fire was on the pilot side."

Corporal Walker raced to the crash scene and went to work with his fire extinguisher.

"The cockpit was a ball of fire," he recalled.

"The pilot was unconscious and charred. The passenger was kind of stuck inside the cockpit, but he showed signs of life.

"I expended all the contents of my fire extinguisher and then radioed for every car equipped with a fire extinguisher to respond."

Meanwhile, Corporal Worsham was making a right turn out the parking lot at the police station and heading down Solomons Island Road to the site of the crash.

"I saw Corporal Walker going across the field in his car," Corporal Worsham said.

"I took two fire extinguishers from my car and started trying to knock down as much of the flames as I could. Between Corporal Walker and myself, we were able to knock down 80 percent of the flames."

Once the fire was under control, the two men worked to make sure the flames didn't re-ignite and harm the passenger trapped inside.

"There were about 18 gallons of fuel left in the other tank," Corporal Walker said. "As a flight instructor, I know the hazards of 100-octane special aviation fuel. It's highly volatile. Your big concern about an airplane crash is a fire. It's a sure thing in any airplane crash."

County police were able to put out the flames in eight minutes, Corporal Walker said, and county firefighters used special equipment to extricate Mr. Giltay.

The awards banquet is sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Police Foundation, an organization of business and community leaders formed in May 1992 to provide financial assistance and support to the police department.

Awards are given to police officers and citizens who make significant contributions to public safety.

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