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News from around the Baltmore region

August 26, 2005

ANNAPOLIS

Crash that killed officer nets man a 3-year term

A Queenstown man who pleaded guilty yesterday to auto manslaughter in the death of a Maryland Transportation Authority police officer will spend three years in prison, according to the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office.

Albert G. Antonelli slammed his pickup truck into a police cruiser at 10 a.m. July 20 on the shoulder of U.S. 50, just west of the Bay Bridge. The officer in the car, Duke G. Aaron III, died hours later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Antonelli, 33, will serve three years of a five-year jail sentence, as well as five years of probation.

"While the case may have had some frailties, the dedication of those working on the case provided us the ability to gain a conviction," State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said in a statement.

Police found a small bag of cocaine, trace amounts of marijuana, six syringes and the prescription drug Suboxone in Antonelli's truck, according to court records. Antonelli was driving on a suspended license when he hit Aaron's car.

An analysis of a blood sample taken from Antonelli after his arrest revealed some cocaine byproducts, prosecutors said. However, Weathersbee noted some weaknesses in the case: Speed, alcohol and a large amount of drugs were not factors in the crash.

Aaron, a 10-year veteran who was named officer of the year three times, was hit while sitting in his unmarked car after issuing a traffic citation. The Pasadena native had recently turned 29.

His widow, Jennifer, said she met her husband 10 years and 10 days before his death.

According to the Associated Press, she said of the plea agreement: "Based on what we had to work with, it was the best we could do." She also called for tougher penalties for auto manslaughter and driving on a suspended license.

- Liz F. Kay and Annie Linskey

BALTIMORE

New Psalmist Baptist Church to give away school supplies

The New Psalmist Baptist Church in Southwest Baltimore is giving away freeschool supplies to neighborhood children during its annual back-to-school rally today.FRI, AUG. 26

School materials will be distributed at 6:30 p.m. in the main sanctuary of the church, 4501 Old Frederick Road. Program participants include the Young Adult Choir and the Choir Boys, a gospel singing group. The church raised money last week to give computers to college students.

Anyone interested in donating school supplies can contact the church at 410-945-3000.

BALTIMORE

Special-ed parents asked for updated addresses

The Baltimore school system is urging parents and guardians of special-education students eligible for transportation to immediately contact the system's "command center" if they have moved and not reported new addresses.

The system has been doing trial bus runs this week, and drivers are finding that several students have moved but not reported new addresses, said school system spokeswoman Edie House.

State officials, who were ordered this month by a federal judge to manage the city's special-education program, said problems with transportation are the biggest obstacle to school opening smoothly Monday.

At the school system's command center, staff members are responding to last-minute phone calls from parents and guardians. The center, open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Sept. 2, can be reached at 443-984-1177 and 443-984-1178.

- Sara Neufeld

BALTIMORE COUNTY

Pikesville man found dead by firefighters battling blaze

A Pikesville man was found dead last night by Baltimore County firefighters battling a two-alarm blaze that raced through his second-floor apartment, authorities said.

Reported at 8:45 p.m., the fire apparently began in the kitchen of a two-story, frame house in the 100 block of Clarendon Ave., near the National Guard Armory. The blaze caused extensive damage to the second floor and went through the roof, said Lt. Vernon Adamson, a county Fire Department spokesman.

An unoccupied first-floor apartment sustained heavy water damage, Adamson said.

While firefighters battled the intense blaze, a second alarm was called at 8:53 p.m. In all, 20 pieces of equipment from four fire stations were dispatched, said Capt. Glenn Resnick of the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Co.

When firefighters made their way through heavy smoke and fire, they found the man lying dead on the kitchen floor. The name of the victim, believed to be in his early 40s, was not immediately divulged. His body was taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

The fire's cause remains under investigation, Adamson said.

-- Richard Irwin

ANNE ARUNDEL

Escaped retriever is retrieved at BWI, returned to owner

A golden retriever named Buddy that escaped from a crate at Baltimore-Washington International Airport more than a week ago was caught yesterday -- lured by dog food to a trap set by animal-control officers, authorities said.

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