Mother wants trooper charged

Claims "reckless" driving killed her son

November 16, 2007|By Arin Gencer | Arin Gencer,Sun reporter

The mother of a Carroll County man struck and killed by a police cruiser last year has filed an application for charges against the state trooper driving the car.

Jeane Blizzard submitted the application to Carroll County District Court on Wednesday, and it was forwarded to the state's attorney's office, said her attorney, David Ellin.

Blizzard's son, Randy L. Rakes, was killed last November.

Rakes, 38, had been walking along Route 140 with a friend near midnight when the two decided to cross the road, according to a Maryland State Police crash report.

Trooper Dale A. Derr was driving more than 80 mph in his police cruiser when he hit Rakes, the report stated. The crash report attributed the incident to two primary factors: Derr exceeding the speed limit, and Rakes' failure to yield the right of way to the cruiser as he crossed Route 140.

Ellin and Blizzard have questioned why charges were not filed against Derr, pointing to his speed, as well as tire marks left by the cruiser at the point where Derr reacted to Rakes.

In the application, Blizzard wrote that Derr "was driving his patrol vehicle ... in a reckless and negligent manner." Blizzard applied for manslaughter and traffic charges, Ellin said.

On Wednesday, Ellin also sent a letter to Gov. Martin O'Malley, noting that the one-year anniversary of Rakes' death is "only two weeks away."

"The family of the Late Randy Rakes seeks justice," he wrote. "Hopefully, your involvement in this matter will ensure that justice is served."

The case was sent to the Frederick County state's attorney's office for review. Ellin's letter refers to news reports that Frederick investigators decided against charging Derr. Phone calls to that office were not returned yesterday.

Rakes' family has filed a multimillion-dollar civil suit against Derr and the state police, claiming that Derr "negligently and recklessly failed to recognize the presence of Randy Rakes in the roadway," according to Circuit Court documents filed last month.

arin.gencer@baltsun.com

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