Limo commandeered, victims outraged

March 15, 1995|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Kimberly Brown got the ride of her life early Sunday when a man commandeered the stretch limousine she and her friends had hired and took them for a spin in the parking lot of a Severn nightclub.

Now, she's angry that Anne Arundel County police didn't charge the suspect with kidnapping.

Thomas Richard Carney, 31, of Rockville in Montgomery County, was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence and driving a car and taking a car without the owner's permission. But Ms. Brown, of Jessup, wanted more.

"This guy should be charged with 10 counts of abduction," she fumed in a telephone interview yesterday. "This is poor police work from the beginning."

Ms. Brown and 11 of her friends rented a limousine Saturday night for an annual ritual of celebrating the March birthdays of women in the group. They went to the Cancun Cantina in the 7500 block of Old Telegraph Road and reveled for two to three hours before deciding to head home about 1:15 a.m.

"Ten of us were in the limousine waiting for the other two in our party to come out when this maniac jumped into the car," Ms. Brown, 24, recounted.

The man hit the accelerator, crashed the limo into a cab that was in front of him, backed off and tried to ease through the parking lot at about 15 to 20 miles per hour. Ms. Brown said she jumped from the car just before it speeded up up to nearly 50 miles an hour as the remaining terrified women begged the driver to stop.

A security guard for the nightclub who saw what was happening quickly drove his own car across the entrance to the lot, blocking the limo from leaving.

The man leapt from the limo and tried to run, but other security guards at the nightclub caught him, said Karen Owens, 32, who was with Ms. Brown in the limousine. Police arrived soon after that.

Ms. Brown and Ms. Owens, of Stratford Downs in Howard County, charged that the officers at the scene were rude and unprofessional. Not one officer asked about their welfare, they complained. Nor did the officers take statements from them, the women said.

While one officer took the names, addresses and telephone numbers of several of the women, Ms. Brown and Ms. Owens said they tried to question a second officer about what charges would be filed against the suspect.

The officer abruptly told them to be quiet, both women claim.

"Stop screaming at me. I don't get paid to get screamed at," the two women said they were told, recounting the experience separately.

Neither the officers involved nor their supervisors could be reached for comment yesterday because they work the midnight shift, said Sgt. Mark Howes, a spokesman for the county police.

The police report of the incident varies greatly from the accounts of Ms. Brown and Ms. Owens. Officer Frank Spadaro wrote that the limousine owner, Phillip Whitman, was dropping the women off and that only five people were in it.

The report makes no mention of Ms. Brown's leap from the car or of any officer telling the women to be quiet.

Sergeant Howes said the severity of charges in such incidents are left up to the officer on the scene.

"If he didn't feel there was enough intent to make a more serious charge, he wouldn't," he said.

But Sergeant Howes added that other charges could be filed.

"If the officer is unsure [about charges], he consults with the state's attorney's office," Sergeant Howes explained.

Mr. Carney was released after posting a $2,000 cash bond on Sunday, a spokeswoman at the Annapolis District Court said.

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