A 34-year-old Perry Hall man pleaded guilty yesterday to auto manslaughter in a hit-and-run accident on Belair Road that killed a city firefighter in September.
Edward M. Ostrowski, a resident of the 4200 block of Penn Ave., pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge and driving while intoxicated before Judge John F. Fader II in Baltimore County Circuit Court.
The accident, in the 9000 block of Belair Road, killed Ernest Ceriale Jr., a 23-year veteran of the city Fire Department. Ceriale, 45, who was assigned to Truck No. 3 at the Fells Point station at Eastern and Collington avenues, died shortly after he was hit Sept. 21.
Assistant State's Attorney Mickey Norman said yesterday that Ceriale was heading north on his motorcycle about 8 p.m. and had slowed down as traffic backed up on Belair Road when Ostrowski hit him from behind with his pickup truck.
The impact threw Ceriale from the motorcycle, and Ostrowski drove over him as he left the scene, Norman said.
Another motorist followed Ostrowski and reported his license plate number to police. When police arrived at Ostrowski's house it was empty, but his Nissan Frontier was parked in the driveway, Norman said.
Ostrowski was arrested near the Perry Hall fire station about 45 minutes after the accident. He had a blood-alcohol level of .25 percent, Norman said.
Norman said he plans to ask the judge for the 10-year maximum at sentencing Aug. 27.
The victim's brother said yesterday that state laws should be strengthened to discourage people from drinking and driving.
"My family is living this nightmare, and it happens all the time," said city fire Lt. Michael Ceriale. "If the penalties were stiffer, it might not happen so much."