Jimmy Buffett driver accused of striking officer with bus Vehicle was leaving Columbia after concert

August 26, 1998|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The driver of a bus carrying Jimmy Buffett tour personnel from a concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday will be charged by Howard County police with hitting an officer who was directing traffic, police said.

Pfc. Richard Rutledge suffered scrapes and bruises, said Sgt. A. J. Bellido de Luna, who is investigating the accident.

A representative of the Buffett band, who refused to be identified, said that the officer "without provocation became physically and verbally abusive, repeatedly pounding on the vans and the bus as they passed by. To the best of our knowledge, he was not injured by any of these vehicles."

The incident occurred about 10: 40 p.m., according to Bellido de Luna, who said the bus first hit an auxiliary officer who was unhurt and, moments later, struck Rutledge near Entrance and Symphony Woods roads.

Bellido de Luna said the bus, which had gotten separated from the rest of the Buffett caravan that was traveling down Little Patuxent Parkway, turned onto Entrance Road to reach U.S. 29.

Police said Rutledge tried to stop the bus that was approaching pedestrians by waving his arms and shouting at the driver, whom police refused to identify. The driver did not halt and struck Rutledge, Bellido de Luna said.

The bus drove away but was pulled over by state troopers on Interstate 95 in Perryville, police said.

Buffett was not on the bus, which carried his manager, the tour manager and two musicians, according to police.

Rutledge was treated and released at Howard County General Hospital.

Bellido de Luna said police will charge the driver with failing to obey the lawful order of a police officer, crossing a double yellow line and reckless negligence.

This "should never have happened," Bellido de Luna said.

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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