Carroll Digest

CARROLL COUNTY DIGEST

February 15, 2005

Weekend in jail for man who drove car through field

A 28-year-old Westminster man will spend this weekend at the Carroll County Detention Center for driving through a soybean field in September - a violation of the conditions of his release after his conviction in a June 1998 drag-racing accident on Route 140 that killed a Mount Airy Middle School teacher.

Mark E. Eppig pleaded guilty in 1998 to automobile manslaughter and second-degree assault and served 19 months. Geraldine Lane "Geri" Wu died and her 15-year-old daughter was injured in the crash, which occurred as they were driving home to Westminster from Finksburg.

Eppig did not comment yesterday after his appearance on a violation of probation charge before Carroll Circuit Judge Thomas F. Stansfield.

Attorney Joseph Murtha said Eppig already has served a five-day jail sentence in the same incident after being convicted of malicious destruction of property in Carroll District Court.

Eppig told police that he drove through the field after someone threw a bottle at the car he was driving as he was leaving a party, Murtha said. Eppig was not intoxicated and paid $300 in restitution to the farm owner - more than the estimated damages to the cultivated field.

In the 1998 case, Eppig testified that he was racing at speeds above 85 mph with Frederick H. Hensen Jr. and Scott D. Broadfoot Sr. when he lost control of his 1991 Nissan about five miles south of Westminster, crossed the grassy median on Route 140 and crashed head-on into Wu's 1997 Mitsubishi. Eppig was ordered to serve three years of a 10-year sentence, which was modified in 2000 and allowed his release after 19 months.

Five-time drunken driver ordered into treatment

A 40-year-old Essex man was ordered into a rehabilitation program and will serve time in jail after his fifth drunken-driving conviction, a Carroll County Circuit Court judge said yesterday.

Christopher Steven Marks of the 2000 block of Tred Avon Road was found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol after an agreed-upon statement of facts was presented by Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer L. Darby. Marks was stopped June 9 by a Taneytown police officer who saw him cross the center line several times. The officer detected an odor of alcohol and conducted sobriety tests.

Marks had four drunken-driving convictions between 1992 and 2001, the prosecutor said. Darby asked for an unspecified enhanced penalty under a multiple-offender provision that allows a three-year sentence after three or more drunken-driving convictions.

Circuit Judge Thomas F. Stansfield suspended all but one year of a three-year sentence and ordered Marks into the Right Turn of Maryland program in Owings Mills, a secure rehabilitation center for people convicted of drunken driving and other crimes related to substance abuse.

After completing that program, the judge said, Marks "is going to do some time in jail."

Defense attorney T. Wray McCurdy said that Marks had been doing well since a stay at Right Turn after his last conviction in 2001, but then suffered a relapse.

"This is my last chance," Marks told the judge. "I was sober for 18 months, then I started drinking again. ... I know this is what I gotta do."

College to host open house for high school students

Carroll Community College will hold a Presidents Day Open House for high school students and their parents from 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday at the 1601 Washington Road campus in Westminster.

Visitors may take a tour or sample a class. Career exploration and an introduction to the financial aid process will be available. Participants will receive an application packet and college catalog to take home.

"We want to give high school students who are possibly interested in attending Carroll peace of mind that everything they need to apply is available in one spot during a convenient time when schools are closed for the holiday," said Janenne Corcoran, director of admissions, advising and counseling.

The snow date is Feb. 28.

Registration is requested at 410-386-8435.

Schools chief solicits questions for TV program

Carroll County public schools Superintendent Charles I. Ecker is asking staff, students, parents and members of the community to submit questions for the television program A Conversation with Dr. Ecker.

During the interview program, which airs on CETV Channel 21, Ecker discusses current topics and issues facing the school system.

Questions or topics can be sent to the Office of Community and Media Relations at publicinfo@k12.carr.org or mailed to 125 N. Court St., Westminster 21157.

Information: 410-751-3020.

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