Baltimore County officer dies of collision injuries

Suspected drunken driver hit his patrol car Dec. 27

January 22, 2002|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Sgt. Mark F. Parry, a 16-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, died yesterday of injuries he suffered last month when a vehicle operated by a suspected drunken driver struck his patrol car.

"He was the kind of young man you meet and remember him straight off," said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan, who recalled meeting him in 1996 when Parry was promoted to corporal. "He was very well-liked, a very effective police officer, and very dedicated to the citizens of Baltimore County and to his family."

Parry, a supervisor in the Towson precinct, was the seventh Baltimore County officer to be killed while on duty in the 128-year history of the department, police said.

"This is a very tragic time for us," Sheridan said. "Losing one of our own people strikes home. We are praying for his family."

Friends and fellow officers gathered at Courthouse Plaza in Towson yesterday afternoon to pay tribute to Parry with a wreath-laying ceremony at a granite memorial honoring fallen officers.

"Hopefully, he's in a better place," said Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. "We are very much behind his family."

On Dec. 27, Parry, 42, of Bel Air was filling in for another supervisor. It was "unusual," Sheridan said, for him to be on patrol. About 11:30 p.m. on East Joppa Road, near Pleasant Plains Road, a sport utility vehicle turned in front of his unmarked police car, hitting its left front side.

Parry suffered several broken bones and severe head injuries. He had to be cut from his Crown Victoria before he could be taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center; he died there about 7 a.m. yesterday, said Bill Toohey, a county police spokesman.

"The family is very distraught," Sheridan said. "It's been a very troubling 25 days. For 25 days, they had been hoping for a miracle."

Police said the driver of the sport utility vehicle fled the scene. Officers found Cesar Humberto Mesa, 41, of the 9900 block of Tailspin Lane in Middle River sitting on a bench about a half-mile from the accident and charged him with six counts: causing a life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while intoxicated; making a false statement; driving under the influence; failing to remain at the scene of an accident involving injury; driving while his license was revoked; and assuming the identification of another person to avoid prosecution.

The state's attorney's office will review the case. Mesa was being held yesterday at the Baltimore County Detention Center in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Parry is survived by his wife, Lynn, and three children who range in age from 10 to 14. He has a brother who is a Baltimore County police officer and a sister who works in the county's 911 center. Plans for services were incomplete last night.

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