Annapolis fisherman, 51, drowns in Severn River Authorities xTC say death near Naval Academy appears to be accidental

June 01, 1998|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

A 51-year-old Annapolis man was the apparent victim of an accidental drowning yesterday in the Severn River at the U.S. Naval Academy's Hospital Point, a popular fishing and crabbing spot. Authorities identified the victim as Randolph Taylor Jr. of Stephanie Lane.

Cmdr. Michael E. Brady, spokesman for the academy, said another man fishing near Taylor noticed about 9 a.m. that Taylor was missing from where he had been on the sea wall. The man went to investigate and found Taylor's hat floating in the water.

The fisherman ran to the nearby Naval Academy Fire Department to report what he had found, Brady said. U.S. Naval Academy and Annapolis rescue workers pulled Taylor's body from the water but were unable to resuscitate him, he said.

"When attempts to resuscitate him failed, we took him immediately to Anne Arundel County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead," Brady said. "While there is no indication of foul play, the Navy is thoroughly investigating all circumstances surrounding this apparent accidental drowning."

An autopsy will be conducted, Brady said.

"We don't suspect anything other than an accidental drowning," he said.

Taylor's wife, Ella L. Taylor, said her husband did janitorial work at the Legion Avenue Post Office in Annapolis.

"The only thing I know is he was out there crabbing," Taylor said. "They [authorities] don't know what happened."

Taylor was crabbing from a sea wall that rises five or six feet above the water, Brady said. Taylor's body was pulled from the deep water "very near the sea wall," he said.

Dozens of people may be fishing or crabbing on any given day at Hospital Point, which got its name because it is near the Naval Academy's hospital, Brady said. It is open to academy residents, employees and to area residents who apply for a permit, he said.

Brady said it is premature to say whether the drowning might prompt the Naval Academy to re-examine its practice of allowing area residents with permits to fish or crab there. He said this is the first drowning he knows of at Hospital Point.

"It's too soon to ask about that," Brady said. "It is popular and is used by an awful lot of people."

One of Taylor's neighbors on Stephanie Lane, Raleigh D. Medley, described Taylor as a good friend and neighbor. Medley said he and Taylor knew each other before each bought homes on Stephanie Lane 13 years ago.

"He definitely enjoyed fishing and crabbing," Medley said. "He fished quite often."

Pub Date: 6/01/98

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