In Baltimore City Bus that crashed had failed...

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

January 10, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

In Baltimore City

Bus that crashed had failed inspection by MVA hours before

The school bus that slammed into a Northeast Baltimore house Tuesday, causing minor injuries to the seven children and two adults on board, failed a Motor Vehicle Administration inspection earlier that day and should not have been on the road, officials said yesterday.

The MVA suspended its tags after inspectors found "major defects," and allowed it to be driven for repair purposes, but not to carry passengers, said agency spokeswoman Cheron Wicker.

The bus is owned by the Walbrook-based Allender Group, which had been told to bring 25 buses for inspection, she said, adding that only nine appeared - and the bus involved in the crash was among seven that failed to pass. The tags of the 16 that were not brought for inspection also were suspended, she said.

City schools spokeswoman Vanessa C. Pyatt said the school system's investigation into the crash in the 2300 block of E. Cold Spring Lane will include the driver's health and the bus's condition.

Police said speed was not a factor. The bus was returning the children home from the Woodbourne Center Day School.

Judge upholds verdict in contractor fraud case

A city Circuit Court judge upheld yesterday the jury verdict in a fraud case involving a Southwest Baltimore couple who argued that a quasi-public lending agency and its inspector had recommended to them a contractor who turned out not to be licensed.

In making his ruling, Judge John N. Prevas said the Community Development Financing Corp. had a special relationship with Tracey A. and Sharon Y. Bowers and "a responsibility to monitor the performance of the contractor." The couple obtained a mortgage loan through CDFC's Vacant Home Program and used some of the money to renovate their home.

Prevas still must decide whether the jury's award of $70,000 in damages to the couple for the structural problems that ensued is excessive. A hearing on that issue is scheduled for Feb. 13.

Conspiracy conviction reinstated in 1998 killing

The state's highest court reinstated yesterday the conviction of a Baltimore man for conspiracy to commit murder in the 1998 beating death of a 47-year-old man in West Baltimore.

Donnell "Lips" Johnson, 21, was convicted in Baltimore Circuit Court of conspiracy and second-degree assault in the killing of Gary W. Hawkins. Johnson successfully argued to the state's intermediate appellate court that he could not be a conspirator because in a trial held before his, the four people convicted of murder in Hawkins' death were acquitted of conspiracy to commit murder.

But the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that Johnson's verdict did not have to be consistent with the verdicts in the other trials.

In Baltimore County

Man charged in robbery of Randallstown bank

RANDALLSTOWN -Kenyel Lee Mason spent several years in federal prison for a 1998 bank robbery conviction. Authorities charged yesterday that the Baltimore man has not given up his old ways.

Baltimore County police arrested Mason, 26, in the city within hours of a robbery at a First Mariner Bank branch in the 9800 block of Liberty Road, Randallstown. The car in which Mason was stopped was identical to the one witnesses described as the getaway car, an FBI spokesman said.

Mason, whose last known address was in the 600 block of Appleton St. in the city and remains under federal supervision for his 1998 conviction, is named in an FBI affidavit as a suspect in four other bank robberies between Dec. 12 and Jan. 3, as well as a failed robbery on Dec. 20. The affidavit supports a bank robbery charge against him in a holdup Jan. 3 at a county First Union branch on Milford Mill Road.

Suspect charged in theft after chase and crash

TOWSON - One of two suspects in a Parkton purse snatching that ended in a high-speed chase and two-car collision Tuesday morning has been charged by Baltimore County police.

Willie Lee Mosley, 47, of the 2700 block of The Alameda in Baltimore, was charged yesterday with grand theft, theft and possession of a stolen credit card and being a rogue and vagabond, police said. Bail for Mosley, who remains at Sinai Hospital with head injuries, was set at $25,000.

Mosley's alleged accomplice is also at Sinai, police said.

Parkville dentist pleads guilty to insurance fraud

TOWSON - A Parkville dentist once known for his practice of singing pop tunes to patients pleaded guilty in county Circuit Court yesterday to insurance fraud and felony theft.

Elmer Cook, 53, of the 8800 block of Walther Blvd. pleaded guilty before Judge Christian M. Kahl to charges, filed by the state attorney general's office, that he stole more than $41,000 from insurance firms by billing for services he never performed from March 1996 to April 1998.

Cook, who surrendered his dental license in 1999 after state regulators found "serious deficiencies" with his work, could be given up to 15 years when he is sentenced.

Christian coffeehouse to celebrate expansion

ESSEX - Joe's Place Christian Coffee House will celebrate the opening of its larger quarters at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Christian Fellowship Church, 12717 Eastern Ave.

The coffeehouse will be able to seat 200 people, doubling the former capacity, and will serve as a faith-based retreat for young people who want to stay off the street. Bands will provide entertainment and artists will display their work.

Information: 410-528-7729.

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