State police officers taken to hospital after car flips

Instructor, 3 trainees were at driving facility

January 20, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Maryland State Police car flipped over yesterday at the new driver-training facility in Sykesville, sending the instructor and three instructors-in-training to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

A trip by helicopter to the hospital was only a precaution, in case of whiplash-type injuries, said Lt. Albert L. Liebno Jr., director of the Police and Correctional Training Commission's driver-training facility on the grounds of Springfield Hospital Center.

"We were doing a braking exercise with the students," Liebno said.

One of the three student troopers was driving a standard-issue Ford Crown Victoria cruiser just before 2 p.m. when "it locked up, went off the road into the wet, soft mud at the side and rolled over."

"The pavement was dry but the brakes locked up, and the car skidded into the dirt," Liebno said. "If it was frozen like last week, nothing would have happened."

The three students, all Maryland State Police troopers, had just begun a two-week course to train them to teach others how to drive emergency vehicles.

"All four of them were out moving around" after the accident, Liebno said of the students and their instructor, "and they expect to be back" today.

The Sykesville facility, the first statewide training complex for officers, opened last fall. Previously, police agencies used 16 academies throughout the state.

The driving course, which includes an urban grid, a highway tactical response course, a skills pad and skid pan, was the first phase of a planned $53 million complex.

However, Gov. Parris N. Glendening has said the unfinished parts of the center -- classrooms, dormitories and offices -- will be moved to a site more in line with his "Smart Growth" initiative.

Pub Date: 1/20/99

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