Rookie county police officer indicted in auto manslaughter

November 01, 1994|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,Sun Staff Writer

In an article Tuesday about the indictment of Baltimore County Police Officer Warren W. McNicholas, the charges against him should have been characterized as misdemeanors.

The Sun regrets the errors.

A Baltimore County grand jury yesterday indicted a county police officer involved in an Oct. 7 car crash that killed another officer on charges of motor vehicle manslaughter and homicide by motor vehicle, officials said.

Officer Warren W. McNicholas, 24, of White Marsh also was indicted on two alcohol offenses, speeding, reckless driving and other traffic charges in the Fullerton accident, said Deputy State's Attorney Howard Merker.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

"He was initially charged by the police with drunk driving," said Mr. Merker. "The police do not charge vehicular manslaughter -- they defer to us. When a fatal accident takes place, we don't know the circumstances of the case."

But after studying the circumstances, the state's attorney's office determined that more serious charges were appropriate, Mr. Merker said. He said the motor vehicle manslaughter and homicide charges are felonies.

Officer McNicholas was driving a 1993 Ford Probe which went off Ridge Road at high speed, struck a utility pole and flipped, police said. Officer Scott Michael Kern, 23, was killed and Officer Michael B. Koffenberger, 23, was injured.

Officer McNicholas was not hurt. Investigators said he tested with a blood alcohol level above the legal threshold for a driving while intoxicated charge.

The three officers, who were off-duty, had gone to a Parkville bar called Strapps to celebrate their first week on the job.

F: All graduated from the county police academy Sept. 29.

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