Man extinguishes fire in car in which driver was trapped...


Man extinguishes fire in car in which driver was trapped

The life of a 17-year-old Severn youth trapped in his wrecked car might have been saved yesterday morning by a fork-lift operator who dumped a load of dirt on the burning vehicle, authorities said.

John Macreadie Johnson Jr. was pinned against the steering column of his 1969 Chevrolet Nova after a head-on collision with a 1997 Ford F350 flatbed truck on Patuxent River Road near Route 214 in Davidsonville, said Anne Arundel County Fire Battalion Chief John M. Scholz.

Both vehicles caught fire, and Arnold Shade, a Brandywine Sand and Gravel employee who saw the accident, lifted a load of dirt and dumped it on the truck and car to extinguish the flames, according to police, who, like Scholz, credit Shade with saving the teen-ager's life.

Police said the car crossed the double-yellow line on Patuxent River Road, and that the truck driver -- Michael Gerard Oktavec, 40, of Annapolis -- was unable to avoid the collision. He was not injured.

Had Shade not acted so quickly, Scholz said, rescuers might have been unable to free the driver before fire engulfed the Nova. Johnson was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was listed in serious condition, said Sgt. Joseph E. Jordan, a police spokesman.

Man charged with rape, assault with intent to murder

DNA samples, a police dog's nose and detective work were credited by county police yesterday in an arrest in the rape on Jan. 11 of an employee leaving an Owensville medical center.

William Matthew Donley of the 4500 block of Owensville Sudley Road was arrested Friday, and is being held without bail at the county detention center, police said. He is charged with first- and second-degree rape, assault with intent to murder, and first-degree assault, police said.

On the night of the attack, a county police dog team followed a track through through a wooded area behind the Primary Care Center to Owensville Sudley Road. Police said investigators later identified several suspects in the area, based on criminal histories, and matched a DNA sample from one of them to evidence from the attack.

The victim was walking to her car after work when she was choked unconscious and raped. She called police after she regained consciousness.

Man, 72, dies after his truck strikes tree in Glen Burnie

A 72-year-old Carvel Beach man died yesterday after his truck crashed into a tree off Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie.

The driver, Thomas Matthew Gillen of the 100 block of Carvel Beach Road, had a history of medical problems, police said. Investigators were awaiting an autopsy report to determine whether a medical problem caused him to lose control of his 1997 Chevrolet Cheyenne.

Investigators said there was no evidence that Gillen had tried to steer or apply the brakes before his eastbound truck crossed the double-yellow line and westbound lanes, traveled up an embankment and hit shrubs and a small tree about 8 p.m.

Gillen was pronounced dead at Harbor Hospital Center in Baltimore about 9 p.m. Police said he was not wearing his seat belt but that both air bags in the vehicle deployed.

Pupils engaged in project to raise trees, bay grasses

Seventh-graders at Bates Middle School in Annapolis are to begin transplanting seedlings into pots tomorrow for a summer "Grow-Out Station" project in which they will nurture more than 6,500 tiny trees.

Those scheduled to help them include Annapolis Mayor Dean L. Johnson, school administrators and teachers, foresters and staff from the state Department of Natural Resources, and members of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Lower Western Shore Tributary Team -- one of 10 formed by the governor in 1995 to devise ways of reducing bay nutrient and sediment pollution.

The seedlings will be watered and tended by the students during the summer, and they will be planted in the fall throughout the Annapolis peninsula area -- including the school grounds.

The school's "tree nursery" is financed through a grant obtained by the tributary team from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Forest Service to produce a multifaceted shoreline ecosystem project at Bates. The students also are growing bay grasses to replant in Maryland waterways this month.

Former director of ARTMA to take on agency as client

Christine Walsh has resigned as executive director of the Annapolis Regional Transportation Management Association to start a management-consulting business -- and will have ARTMA as her first client.

"Christine's professionalism, finesse and ability to facilitate relationships between local governments and the business community have been an invaluable key to the success of this organization," Barbara Elliott, president of ARTMA, said in a press release announcing Walsh's resignation. The organization is beginning its search for a new director.

Walsh held seats on a number of boards -- including the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference & Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce, and transportation committees -- and worked with the BWI Business Partnership to promote ARTMA's regional approach to transportation solutions.

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