Man, 72, dies after hit-run near where wife was killed

January 03, 1995|By Michael Ollove | Michael Ollove,Sun Staff Writer

A 72-year-old Middle River man died yesterday after what police called a hit-and-run accident on the same stretch of road where his wife had been fatally injured.

George Otto Wickman, a retired maintenance worker who lived in the first block of Gentian Lane, was pronounced dead at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center as a result of multiple injuries he received at 1:50 a.m. on Eastern Avenue.

Two years ago, Mr. Wickman's wife, Virginia, died after being hit by an MTA bus on the same piece of road.

Baltimore County police say that after leaving Kluso's Pub, a nightly haunt of his, Mr. Wickman was crossing Eastern Avenue near Bengies Road when a Ford truck pulled out of the bar's parking lot and headed west.

With Mr. Wickman only feet away from the opposite curb, the truck struck him and knocked him down, police say.

A second, unidentified vehicle apparently attempted to shield Mr. Wickman's body, but a third vehicle, heading eastbound and described by police as "a red, S-10 type truck," drove around it. That truck then hit Mr. Wickman, and disappeared down the road, police say.

Police say the driver of the Ford truck, 29-year old Robert Francis Morningstar of the 200 block of Dorrell Road, attempted to conceal information about the accident, including the fact that he was the driver of the Ford.

They charged him with hit-and-run-driving and driving while intoxicated. He was being held yesterday on a $10,000 bond.

Police are seeking information leading to the arrest of the driver of the other truck.

Mr. Wickman, a longtime maintenance man at the Country Ridge Shopping Center, was a familiar figure on the streets of Middle River and Essex, a slightly built man in a straw hat proudly walking his dog, a Pomperian.

According to his sister-in-law, Dorothy Wickman, he lived in that eastern area of Baltimore County his entire life, the last 20 years in a mobile home in the Oakdale Trailer Park.

He was also a regular fixture at Kluso's, according to Stacey Chaillou, a bartender for many years at the bar.

"Mr. George was here most every night," said Miss Chaillou. "He couldn't talk because he had [throat] cancer, so he would bring his note pad and write notes to everybody."

He would arrive most nights about 8:30 and assume the same bar stool while slowly nursing his draft beers until closing. When he was tipsy, someone would invariably accompany him across Eastern Avenue and set him off on his quarter-mile walk home.

Before leaving, though, he would insist on shaking hands all around, and giving a peck on the cheek to all the female staff.

"We are all devastated," Miss Chaillou said. "We just can't believe it."

Services for Mr. Wickman will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Connelly Funeral Home in Essex.

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