Man is charged in assault on Carroll lacrosse coach

Videotape shows choking, brawl at high school game

May 08, 2004|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County man has been charged with second-degree assault in the attempted choking of an assistant varsity coach at Liberty High School during a brawl at a high school boys lacrosse game last week, Maryland State Police said yesterday.

William A. Bell Jr., 39, of the first block of Fairview Ave. in Mount Airy was charged Thursday by police in the assault on assistant coach Micah S. Reese during a melee between the South Carroll and Liberty High School lacrosse teams at an evening game April 30 at Liberty's field in Eldersburg.

Carroll schools Superintendent Charles I. Ecker suspended three players from each of the teams this week for the rest of the lacrosse season and suspended three others from each team for one game. Each team also had to forfeit two games.

In a statement of charges filed with the District Court commissioner of Carroll County on Wednesday, Reese, 23, of Eldersburg wrote that he was assaulted "during the game on the aforementioned date while I was attempting to separate players engaged in a fight on the field since I am the assistant varsity coach."

Bell and Reese declined to comment, but the police report attached to the charges confirms Reese's version of events. The report states that a state trooper viewed a videotape of the brawl provided by the local Adelphia cable sports network. The network broadcast the game.

The brawl started with two minutes and 59 seconds left in the annual game. The game was tied at 13 when a South Carroll player started a shoving match near the South Carroll goal.

Within seconds, it escalated into a fistfight. Referees stopped the fight, but it started again when a Liberty player rushed an opponent at midfield and flattened him. The attack cleared both benches as other players joined the fight.

The videotape shows two men and three students running onto the field, school officials said. They declined to identify the spectators or the players involved.

Reese left the sidelines and tried to pull players away from the fight. The videotape focuses on a man, identified by police as Bell, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 215 pounds. Wearing wearing a light-colored baseball cap, the man can be seen screaming at Reese and putting his hands around Reese's neck and shaking him, police said.

"It can be clearly seen that the victim Reese was assaulted by the suspect Bell," the state police report stated.

After the melee was quelled, officials suspended the game.

Ecker said spectators who ran onto the field will be barred indefinitely from attending county extracurricular activities.

"We think they have to stay in the stands," Ecker said. "They cannot get involved. There are some spectators that get involved in the game without getting in the field. They verbally abuse referees and coaches, and that's not right either."

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