State trooper strikes, kills pedestrian in Carroll

Witnesses say man had been drinking before he attempted to cross Route 140

November 30, 2006|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun Reporter

A Carroll County man who ran across Route 140 near Finksburg about midnight Tuesday was struck and killed by an on-duty state trooper in his police cruiser, state police said.

It is the second fatal accident involving a police officer on patrol in Carroll County this year.

Randy L. Rakes, 38, of the 2100 block of Baltimore Blvd. in Finksburg was pronounced dead at Carroll Hospital Center shortly after 12:30 a.m. yesterday.

The driver, Trooper Dale A. Derr, 22, was treated for minor injuries and is recovering at home while on medical leave, said Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman.

Rakes had been drinking throughout the evening and had gotten into a fight with his brother, witnesses told police. Rakes then left his Finksburg home with a friend to walk along an unlit median on Route 140 just past Sandymount Road, police said.

When Rakes ran into the westbound lanes of Route 140, Derr tried to swerve but was unable to avoid striking him, Shipley said. Derr's police cruiser traveled across the median and struck the embankment on the eastbound side, police said.

"It is an infrequent occurrence, but unfortunately police officers spend a lot of time behind the wheel," Shipley said. "Pedestrian error continues to be a significant factor in traffic fatalities."

Without first activating his emergency lights, Derr had been following another trooper to a reported burglary near Westminster.

Derr has been a state trooper with the Westminster barracks since March 2005.

Police are awaiting autopsy results and are continuing an investigation.

In September, an on-duty Carroll County sheriff's deputy fatally struck a bicyclist who was crossing Route 140 in Westminster late at night.

The victim, Mario Garcia Salgado, 21, a native of Michoacan, Mexico, had lived and worked in Westminster for about three years.

No charges were filed against Cpl. Carlos Bustos, a five-year veteran. After an independent review by the Howard County state's attorney's office, that case has been closed.

Rakes was a graduate of Owings Mills High School, worked construction in Finksburg and had a 17-year-old daughter who lives in Hanover, Pa., said Carl Blizzard, Rakes' stepfather, who lived with him in Finksburg.

Rakes was heading to another friend's house at the time of the accident, Blizzard said.

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