Officer is remembered for working, playing hard, helping others 14-year veteran dies in Monday traffic accident while he was off-duty

June 12, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

William T. Bertram hated inactivity.

If he wasn't working the midnight shift as an Anne Arundel County police officer, he was a volunteer Boy Scout troop leader. And if he wasn't taking stray dogs to local animal shelters, he was helping a neighbor plow his car out from under a blanket of snow.

"He worked hard, and he played hard," said Lt. James Fahrman, who knew Bertram for 13 years. "I always figured Bill would outlive all of us."

On Monday, Bertram, 40, a 14-year police veteran who was off-duty, died of head and chest injuries after his pickup truck struck a tractor-trailer stopped at Ritchie Highway and Magothy Bridge Road.

Police said Bertram's pickup drifted into the left-hand lane of Ritchie Highway. The tractor-trailer driver, David Wayne Milligan, 29, of Ridgely, was not seriously injured.

Police said Bertram worked until 7:30 a.m. Monday and appeared at a morning trial in Glen Burnie. He played in a golf tournament at the Bay Hills Golf Course in Arnold before the accident.

His death has left family members, neighbors and fellow officers mourning the loss of a "good man."

"I have three kids, but I feel like half of me is gone already," said Jean Bertram, 66, Bertram's mother. "He was an all-around good kid."

Jean Bertram spoke of Bertram outside his Glen Burnie home, where she comforted her daughter-in-law, Brenda Bertram, who was too distraught to talk to reporters.

Jean Bertram said her son, who had no children of his own, had been active in Scouting since joining the Cub Scouts 32 years ago.

He planned biking trips and whitewater rafting expeditions for the members of Glen Burnie Troop 474, she said. This summer, he had made arrangements to take 12 boys camping in Colorado.

"I think he was active because he liked children and being a member of the Boy Scouts," Jean Bertram said. "He was always interested in that."

Neighbor Ron Felluca said Bertram helped him dig his car out of a snowbank last winter.

"He was a good neighbor," said Felluca. "He was always willing to help me."

Bertram, stationed at Northern District, was a decorated officer who received the Commanders Award for eight of his years with the department for not using disability leave. He also was commended for rescuing a Millersville family and their cat from a fire that destroyed their home July 28, 1994.

"He was a super-nice guy, your basic ball of energy," Fahrman said. "It was very hard to slow him down."

The mood among officers yesterday was somber, the lieutenant said.

"There's a general feeling of disbelief," he said. "There's a lot of sadness here, and we're going to miss him."

Pub Date: 6/12/96

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