Officer's funeral set for Monday

SUV in hit-and-run belonged to Block stripper, who has not been charged

January 03, 2008|By Nick Madigan and Gus G. Sentementes | Nick Madigan and Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporters

Like soldiers in an honor guard, two police officers were posted yesterday outside the Hampstead home of Courtney G. Brooks, their colleague in the Maryland Transportation Authority Police who died on New Year's Day after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Brooks and his fiancee, Susan G. Geisler, bought the two-story, 1,700-square-foot house on Dakota Road in March last year for almost $321,000, a firm step toward a future together that included plans for marriage.

Instead, Geisler and her parents, Edward and Priscilla Geisler, and members of Brooks' family met yesterday with Transportation Authority officials at the force's headquarters to plan the 40-year-old officer's funeral, which will be held Monday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore.

A viewing will be held at the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home in Randallstown before the service, probably on Saturday and Sunday, the police agency said. A detailed schedule of memorial events is to be announced today.

Brooks, who had been with the Transportation Authority for 13 years, was posthumously promoted to corporal yesterday. He had worked at BWI Marshall Airport and later moved to the agency's Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit.

Brooks had one child from a previous marriage -- the couple divorced in 2004 -- and two children with Geisler, a Southwest Airlines employee with whom he had been for several years, said his aunt, Katherine Brooks. "He was a lot of fun," Brooks, 44, said of her nephew. "He was the comic type."

Sgt. Pamela Thorne, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Authority Police, said yesterday there were no updates on the investigation into the accident that killed Brooks while he was working a traffic detail alone on Interstate 95 where it meets I-395 about 11:20 p.m. Monday.

A green Ford Explorer, its front end damaged, was seen leaving the scene. It belonged to Kerri J. King, 35, a part-time stripper on Baltimore's Block who was arrested at her home in Elkton more than six hours after the incident, police said. The SUV was recovered from a truck stop nearby.

King, who has four children, has not been charged in Brooks' death but was being held on a warrant for failing to appear in court in November on an earlier drunken-driving charge.

Investigators are reviewing video from highway cameras to see whether King was driving the SUV when the accident occurred on New Year's Eve. Brooks died a few hours later on New Year's Day.

King's previous arrest was at almost the same place as the accident Monday night. In the earlier incident, shortly before midnight on Sept. 27, King was arrested after a Transportation Authority officer spotted her sitting in a 1997 Suzuki parked on the shoulder of northbound I-95 at the exit for the I-395 ramp. The officer wrote in charging documents that King said someone in a white car had hit her vehicle on the ramp and then fled.

While the officer made note of damage to King's car, he detected "a strong odor" of alcohol on her breath and saw that she had glassy, bloodshot eyes, court documents say.

Her speech was "slurred," wrote the officer, who also noticed several liquor bottles in the vehicle's back seat. King told the officer, he said in the report, that she and a friend were heading home to Elkton after "dancing on The Block."

She also told the officer that she was on medication for panic attacks, that she "had brain damage," and had endured "several surgeries for cancer," the charging document says.

Authorities determined that King's blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent, nearly double the legal threshold of 0.07 percent. She was charged with driving while under the influence and was released from jail after posting $1,000 bail, court records show. She was supposed to appear in Baltimore District Court on Nov. 27 to face trial but failed to show up.

On The Block, King is known as a subcontractor, a dancer who freelances for several clubs. Robert Sullivan, a manager at the Red Room, said King worked for him on Dec. 30 and 31. Sullivan said she left about 10:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve, before her shift was finished.

Trish Hoffman, a dancer at the Oasis club, said King, whom she has known for about a year, behaved oddly when she didn't take her medication. King had a boyfriend who supported her financially, Hoffman said. Other dancers sitting at the bar said King sometimes used the stage name Baby.

On Elkton's Danford Drive, a cul-de-sac of townhouses, King's neighbor Vanessa Broadard said she was awakened by loud banging on King's door early Tuesday. Shortly afterward, police officers took King away. Her children, ages 7 to 15 years, were placed in foster care.

"She seems to be a good person, a single mother with a lot of problems," Broadard said. "But who doesn't have problems nowadays?"

After school was dismissed yesterday, Cecil County social workers arrived at King's townhouse with the children and helped them collect belongings. Two new children's bicycles had been left in the front yard amid discarded holiday gift wrapping.

Sun reporters Lynn Anderson and Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.

nick.madigan@baltsun.com gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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