Week In Review

June 04, 2006

Samplings from Harford County-related articles published in The Sun during the past week.

Dogs' owner drops bid to get them back

The woman accused of hoarding more than 100 dogs in two Harford County homes will drop her appeal to get them back, making the animals available for adoption starting this week, county officials and the woman's lawyer said.

An attorney for Donna Lee Bell told The Sun that his client wants to see the animals placed in good homes.

"This is a woman who really cares about these animals, and she just got carried away with it," said Leonard H. Shapiro, an Owings Mills criminal attorney.

Bell, 59, was arrested last month and charged with 118 counts of animal cruelty after dozens of dogs and some cats were found living amid filth and carcasses in her two Whiteford properties.

B section, Friday

2 Harford residents die in auto collision

Two Harford County residents died Wednesday after two vehicles collided at an intersection in Aberdeen, city police said. Curtis C. Daugherty, 79, of Darlington was driving a 1994 Ford Escort station wagon west on Route 22 about 1 p.m. when he attempted to turn left onto southbound Beards Hill Road and collided with an eastbound 1997 Dodge Neon driven by a 17-year-old girl, whose name was not divulged. Police said the girl and Daugherty were flown by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where Daugherty died. The girl was treated and released. A passenger in the station wagon, Ruth Ann Sheets, 48, of Mitchell Lane in Aberdeen, died at Harford Memorial Hospital, police said.

B section, Thursday

Bloods seen as biggest gang threat

MS-13, the target of a major federal indictment in Maryland last summer, isn't the state's biggest gang problem. The Bloods are.

That is the conclusion reached by the state's leading gang investigators, who presented their latest findings at a summit in Columbia of 300 law enforcement officers, political leaders and educators.

MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, originated in Los Angeles among refugees from El Salvador and received national attention in recent years for its rapid spread and violence.

Federal prosecutors charged 19 alleged MS-13 members from Southern Maryland in August.

Experts said that it is still the Bloods, who crop up on street corners in Baltimore, in schools in Harford County and in prisons throughout the state, who have the greatest reach.

"They're the outside influence here," said Maj. David Engel, the chief of the Baltimore Police Department's criminal intelligence unit.

B section, Friday

2 APG lab workers taken to hospital

Two Aberdeen Proving Ground laboratory workers were sent to a Bel Air hospital Thursday after showing signs of possible exposure to nerve agent, the third incident involving the same tenant at the Harford County military base in the past two months.

The incident occurred at 10:50 a.m. at the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, a 1.5 million-square-foot research and engineering laboratory for chemical and biological defense. A worker noticed that another's eyes had become dilated, a symptom associated with possible exposure to nerve agent. The workers called 911.

APG officials were unable to say whether the workers involved in Thursday's incident had been exposed to harmful materials, though officials at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air said both workers had been treated and released.

B section, Friday

Road rage may have sparked killing

The crime scene was grisly: Blood was splattered on the windshield, hood and front fender of Michael Razzio Simmons' car, and a young man lay dead across the street with stab wounds to the neck.

But the reason Simmons gave for the altercation that left Patrick John Walker, 23, dead on a Bel Air street the afternoon of May 26 was equally disturbing. Simmons told police Walker had cut him off in traffic.

Wednesday, about 200 of Walker's family and friends gathered at St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church in Bel Air to mourn, recalling the recent college graduate as a quiet man who cared about others.

The incident has cast a fresh spotlight on road rage, an extreme form of aggressive driving often attributed to congestion and lengthy commutes on slow-moving urban thoroughfares. Yet Walker's killing happened on a sleepy side street in downtown Bel Air, a community that has not seen a homicide in more than 20 years.

"There are more drivers, more congestion, more distractions, and, if anything, we seem to be, as a society, more rude today than 10 years ago," said Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Incidents of road rage across the nation have led to drivers shooting each other or driving each other into fatal accidents. Researchers say the incidents can be curbed by exhibiting better road manners, but largely have to do with the psyche of those committing the acts.

B section, Thursday

Subpoena adds to SafeNet woes

SafeNet Inc. has seen its share of success.

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