Arundel Digest


April 28, 2004

Ehrlich signs bill limiting panhandling on county's roads

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed into law yesterday a bill that will restrict panhandling in Anne Arundel County.

The bill, introduced by Del. John R. Leopold, will allow the county to limit soliciting along roadways and median strips to members of certain groups who are at least age 18 and have paid a fee of up to $100 for a county-issued license. The fee could be waived if the group shows it cannot afford to pay.

Also under the bill, police officers can ask solicitors to leave a median if they deem it unsafe. Four other counties -- Charles, Harford, Prince George's and Washington -- have laws restricting soliciting on public roads.

Man gets 4-year term for causing fatal crash

A Deale man was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison for causing a fatal crash that killed a Virginia man.

Charles Wayne Darnell, 35, contended a sleep disturbance may have played a role in his crashing his vehicle into a minivan May 17, killing William Albert Fisher, 43, of Louisa, Va., and injuring others. A former Navy technician, he has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and post-traumatic stress disorder and had been referred by Veterans Affairs for further tests.

But Darnell's blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit, after the crash at Swamp Circle Road and Route 258 in southern Anne Arundel County. In February, he pleaded guilty to negligent homicide while under the influence and causing a life-threatening injury. Yesterday, under terms of the agreement, Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck sentenced him to eight years and suspended four years. The agreement says Darnell can seek a sentence modification after serving 18 months.

2 Riva teens charged with starting barn fire

Two Riva teen-age boys were charged as juveniles this week with causing a fire that destroyed a Riva Road barn Sunday.

The youths, 14 and 13, were given juvenile citations on second-degree arson and reckless endangerment charges and were released to their parents, said Anne Arundel County Fire Department Division Chief John Scholz.

He said the youths had been playing with fireworks. Fire damage was estimated at $53,000 to the barn on the property of Elmer Asquith in the 3200 block of Riva Road.

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