Teen accused of 4 rapes is in coma after car crash

Judge grants motion to delay proceedings against Yinger, 17

March 22, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Court proceedings for a 17-year-old Taneytown-area youth accused of raping four teen-age girls have been delayed indefinitely because the accused boy lies in a coma at Maryland Shock Trauma Center from injuries suffered in an automobile accident two weeks ago.

Nathaniel Jared Yinger of the 2800 block of Basehores Mill Road was in critical but stable condition yesterday, according to a trauma center spokeswoman.

Yinger was flown there March 8 after suffering a head injury in an accident at 11 a.m. He was driving south on Tyrone Road about a half-mile from Stone Road, northwest of Westminster, according to Maryland State Police and court documents, and lost control of his 1997 Subaru Impreza, hitting a fence and mailboxes before overturning.

The accident occurred on a winding, two-lane road in a rural area of scattered homes, barns, woods and fields. The speed limit on Tyrone Road is 40 mph.

In a motion to delay a pretrial hearing and other matters, Fred S. Hecker, Yinger's attorney, wrote in part: "It is unknown when, if at all, the defendant will be available to be present and assist counsel at any hearing or trial."

On Wednesday, Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. signed an order granting Hecker's motion, delaying all proceedings in the case. A hearing had been scheduled next week on a defense motion to have Yinger treated as a juvenile rather than prosecuted as an adult.

A letter to the court from a private home-detention program that monitored Yinger said the teen-ager had been placed in a medication-induced coma to reduce brain swelling.

Yinger, a Francis Scott Key High School wrestler, withdrew from school about a month before he was arrested and charged as an adult with multiple counts of rape, sodomy, sexual assault and assault.

In the charging documents, Yinger is accused of sexually assaulting three girls at small parties at friends' homes in the Taneytown area. The fourth girl, who said she knew Yinger only slightly, was attacked after she let him into her Westminster home and they played a game of pool, according to charging documents.

Yinger was freed Nov. 2 on $50,000 bail and placed on a home-detention program by a Carroll District Court judge, who ordered that he leave home only for counseling sessions and court-related appointments.

A Carroll County grand jury later indicted him on five additional counts, including second-degree rape and sexual offenses upon incapacitated or helpless victims, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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