Officer hit by van during funeral


A Maryland Transportation Authority Police motorcycle officer was in critical condition last night after he was struck by a van yesterday afternoon while working a funeral procession detail for the wife of a prominent Baltimore business executive.

Officer Robert T. Krauss, 38, an 18-year-member of the force, was riding his police motorcycle while performing escort duties in the funeral procession for Deborah Ann Paterakis, 48, who died Sunday from colon cancer.

Her husband, William John Paterakis, is executive officer of H&S Baking Co. and chairman of the Ronald McDonald House annual golf outing. Her father-in-law, John Paterakis Sr., owns the bakery and is a major developer of the Inner Harbor East.

Krauss was escorting the funeral procession from the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation at Maryland Avenue and Preston Street to the Greek Orthodox Cemetery on Windsor Mill Road in Woodlawn. About noon, as he was in or near the intersection of Gwynns Falls Parkway and Denison Street in Baltimore, he was struck by a Plymouth Town & Country van, police said.

Gary W. McLhinney, chief of the MdTA Police, said the impact drove the officer onto the hood of the van before he fell to the pavement.

"Officer Krauss took the brunt of the impact with the van," said McLhinney. He said the motorcycle sustained minor damage.

Krauss, who suffered multiple internal injuries, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was reported in critical condition last night after undergoing more than three hours of emergency surgery, McLhinney said.

The chief described Krauss as an outstanding and dedicated police officer.

"It takes a special kind of person to drive a police motorcycle ... especially with all the accidents that occur," McLhinney said.

He said the officer's wife and mother were at Shock Trauma, along with several fellow officers, other relatives and friends.

The driver of the van was identified by police as Rodney Darryl Austin, 45, of the Gwynn Oak section of West Baltimore.

Austin, who remained at the scene and was not injured, was released after an interview by city police, who are investigating the accident. Charges were pending, police said.

McLhinney said that because the funeral procession was so large, city police requested motorcycle escorts from other area police departments. "It's a routine request," he said.

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