Loose cash gives motorists a run for the money

September 09, 1995|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

Twenty-dollar bills flew across Interstate 95 yesterday. Motorists caught many of them.

Twenty to 30 motorists scrambled to scoop up $20 bills strewn across four lanes of I-95 near the Fort McHenry Tunnel yesterday after a bag of bills fell from an armored truck.

The incident occurred about 2 p.m. when the money bag fell out of the Federal Armored Express Inc. truck as the driver, identified as Frank Beck Jr. of Waldorf, was closing the truck's door after paying a toll.

James Dunbar, chief operating officer and founder of the Dundalk-based company, would not say how much money was lost.

The driver "remembered the door popping open as he closed it, and he closed it again just as quickly," Mr. Dunbar said. "The driver never realized the bag had fallen out."

Motorists did, though.

Lisa Chevron of Bel Air, a state emergency services employee and a cardiac rescue technician, was driving north on I-95 and noticed vehicles stopped and people scrambling in the middle of the southbound lanes several yards beyond the toll booths.

"I thought there had been a huge accident," she said.

Miss Chevron pulled over, jumped from her car and leaped over the Jersey wall to the southbound shoulder.

"That's when I realized why everyone was running all over," she said. "They were grabbing up $20 bills. Some had wads of twenties in their hands."

When she got to the southbound shoulder, Miss Chevron said, motorists scrambled back into their vehicles and drove away -- possibly mistaking her for a police officer, since she was wearing her work uniform.

Miss Chevron said she picked up five $20 bills but didn't see any more money.

Maryland Transportation Authority police did not notice the incident, said Sgt. Jesse Roberts.

Since she once was a part-time radio operator for the Bel Air Police Department, Miss Chevron turned the money over to Deputy Chief John Harkins when she drove home. "I didn't know who owned it, and I knew Bel Air would get it back to the owners," she said.

Sergeant Roberts said a Baltimore County man called police there to report that a money bag had struck his car's windshield and that he had it and wanted to return it to the owners. "He didn't say how much money was in the bag," the sergeant said. Baltimore County police later retrieved the bag from the caller, whose identity was not available.

Another motorist called MTA police to say she would return some of the money Tuesday, Sergeant Roberts said. "I believe she was a University of Maryland student, but she didn't leave her name, or a phone number," he said.

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