Cleveland medic's visit to Baltimore ends badly Arm broken in Fells Point after being hit by truck, he says intentionally

November 13, 1995|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Rodger McManus has reason to wonder about Baltimore. The city took his football team and a visit here nearly cost him his life.

The Cleveland paramedic was razzed in a Fells Point bar early Friday about being from a city about to lose its football team. And when he left the bar, Club 723, he was hit by a truck in an incident he described as an intentional hit-and-run.

"It could be related to being from Cleveland and what happened in the bar, it could be unrelated, I really don't know," Mr. McManus said yesterday, his broken right arm in a cast.

The 37-year-old was in the area to attend a four-day seminar for paramedics at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. After a day of classes Thursday, he and two fellow Ohio paramedics decided to visit Fells Point.

Mr. McManus said that a Club 723 bartender announced over a public address system that he and friend Robert Norton were from Cleveland.

"We took some razzing about it, and that was it," Mr. Norton said.

The men left the bar when it closed at 2 a.m. and headed for the Ford Explorer owned by Alan Barton, a Lorain, Ohio, paramedic who was their designated driver for the night.

Like the other vehicles on Thames Street, Mr. Barton's truck was parked perpendicular to the curb, so that the front of the truck faced the curbside.

Mr. McManus positioned himself behind the Explorer, so he could hold up traffic while Mr. Barton pulled into the crowded street.

But before Mr. Barton could pull out, a Toyota pickup truck traveling in the 1700 block of Thames St. bumped against Mr. McManus -- repeatedly -- throwing him back a few feet in the street with each bump.

Mr. McManus said the Toyota hit him each time at a speed that made it dangerous for him to jump out of the way.

"The brief glimpse I can remember is that I had to either go onto the hood of the truck, or go under it," he said.

Mr. McManus jumped onto the hood of the truck, which traveled about 40 feet before braking and sending him sprawling into the street.

His friends caught up to him in the middle of Thames Street near Broadway, they said.

"We found him unconscious, face up, with blood coming from his head," Mr. Norton said.

No one got the truck's license plate number.

Mr. McManus, a five-year veteran of the paramedic service in Lorain, was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he was treated for a broken arm, possible internal bleeding and bruises around his left eye.

Police at the Southeastern District yesterday could not find a report on the incident.

Maj. John Gavirilis, the district commander, said the incident could have been classified as a motor vehicle accident report, meaning the officer who responded to the call would not have to file a report immediately.

But fire officials confirmed that city paramedics were called to the 1700 block of Thames St. shortly after 2 a.m. Friday.

Mr. McManus said yesterday that his vision remains foggy and that doctors have told him his arm is broken at the elbow. The break will require surgery and put him out of work for at least six weeks.

"You can't lift a stretcher with a broken arm," he said in an interview outside a classroom at UMBC.

But he said that he holds no grudges against Baltimore -- for taking his football team or for his unpleasant visit.

"I'd like to come back and see it [Baltimore] again sometime, when I can see it clearly," Mr. McManus said.

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