Firefighters suspended after fatal collision

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

December 29, 2007

The driver of a city firetruck that hit a sport utility vehicle this month, killing its three occupants, and an officer on the truck at the time of the accident were both suspended without pay yesterday, fire officials said.

The driver, Nathaniel D. Moore, and the officer, Lt. Thomas Moore, were suspended pending a hearing on administrative charges that will be held in the "very near future," said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman. The two men are not related.

Truck 27 was the third of four fire vehicles traveling north on Park Heights Avenue on Dec. 9 on their way to a reported fire. The truck collided with the SUV as it came through the Clarks Lane intersection.

Cartwright said the administrative charges were brought by the battalion chief and signed off on by the deputy chief of operations. He would not divulge the charges, noting that it is a personnel matter, but said they deal with driving an emergency vehicle in an unsafe manner.

"In this case, it is much more serious," he said. "Lives were lost."

Stephan G. Fugate, head of the Baltimore Fire Officers Union, said he believed it was "a bit harsh" to suspend the men without pay before the investigation or charges have run their course.

"Quite frankly, the reason they call them accidents is because it's not on purpose," Fugate said. "I think our members should be treated the same way as any other city employees."

John Fritze

Baltimore

: Police shooting

Man drives toward officer at traffic stop

A Baltimore police officer shot a 35-year-old man who drove toward him at a high speed during a traffic stop last night in Southwest Baltimore, police said.

The incident occurred about 10 p.m. after officers pulled over a dark-colored sedan for numerous traffic violations at Schroeder and Baltimore streets, police said.

Shortly after the car stopped, it sped toward an officer standing in front of a patrol car, police said. The officer opened fire, hitting the driver in the shoulder. The car continued on, striking a sport utility vehicle before stopping in the 100 block of Paca St., near Lombard Street.

The man was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Police declined to identify him or the officer involved in the shooting.

Josh Mitchell

Courts

Man accuses police of sexual assault

An attorney for a Baltimore County man has filed notice with the city that he intends to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against three police officers who he says abused him on a Southeast Baltimore street corner in October.

According to the notice filed this month with the city by attorney Gary N. Bowen, Steven Vernarelli said he was stopped by three city police officers Oct. 22.

While standing at Jefferson and Curley streets, Vernarelli, a 23-year-old Rosedale man, said an officer sexually assaulted him while two other officers watched, the notice states. He said he will seek $100 million in damages when he files his lawsuit.

Sterling Clifford, a Police Department spokesman, said the department received a complaint from Vernarelli in October and that the incident remains under investigation.

Gus G. Sentementes

Trash collection

Tree pickup to run through January

City trash collectors will offer curbside Christmas tree pickup beginning Thursday, through Jan. 31 on each neighborhood's second trash collection day. Residents should place the trees with their trash no later than 7 a.m. on collection day.

Residents looking to turn their trees into mulch can bring them to the Polytechnic Institute parking lot at Cold Spring Lane and Falls Road from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 5 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 6. Residents should remove all tinsel and ornaments from trees and bring bags.

Howard County

: Fatal crash

Woman in crash dies of her injuries

Howard County police said a 62-year-old Stephenson, Va., woman who was injured when she turned her car in front of a dump truck has died.

Police said Elizabeth Marsh made an illegal turn into the path of the dump truck on Route 32 near Interstate 70 about noon Thursday. The driver of the dump truck was identified as Michael Hill, 31, of Columbia. He was not injured.

Associated Press

Frederick County

: Fatal crash

Police release names of victims

Police identified three people killed in a multiple-vehicle accident Thursday in Western Maryland.

Four cars were involved in the 5:30 p.m. accident on U.S. 15 just north of Point of Rocks.

Two of the victims were identified as Robert S. Stegner, 49, of Clifton Va., and Sean M. Stegner, 14. They were in a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. The third was identified as Jennifer M. Adel Carter, 27, of Point of Rocks. She was driving a 2003 Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Two other vehicles involved, according to police: a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado driven by James L. Cornett Jr., 40, of Point of Rocks and a 2007 Honda Element driven by Kevin R. Strauss, 38, of Columbia. Neither driver was injured, police said.

Police said Carter was driving north on Route 15 when her Cadillac struck the rear of the Honda.

The impact caused the Cadillac to cross into the southbound lane, where it struck the minivan and sideswiped the Chevrolet, police said.

Associated Press

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