Nohoemi Martinez said she got a strange feeling when her uncle called her early Monday and wanted to take her for a ride. But when they arrived at a local hospital, she knew there was terrible news.
Martinez spoke yesterday through an interpreter about the difficulties of adjusting to life without her husband, Antonio M. Martinez, 28, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Interstate 95 in Harford County.
Compounding her pain, she said, was the fact that the other driver didn't help. State troopers traced a license plate left behind at the scene to a home in Cecil County, where an off-duty Anne Arundel County police officer was taken into custody and then released.
Martinez, joined by her family and two survivors of the crash, said they believe the state police have been withholding information about the incident, because the suspect is a police officer. Family members said the officer could have used his training to save Martinez's life if he had stayed to help.
"Police are being pretty tight-lipped about their side," said Rick Schmidt, one of the attorneys who spoke on behalf of the family, Mexican natives who do not speak English. "We hope they'll be forthcoming. ... At some point in time, they'll have to put their cards on the table."
Maryland State Police have yet to release the detainee's name, pending a criminal investigation. The officer's name was redacted from an accident report and removed from a daily log that contains the name of every person detained at the state police JFK barracks in Perryville.
Police and prosecutors said no identification will be made until charges are brought, a process that could take months as they investigate.
Prosecutors cited a 1990 Baltimore County case in which the Maryland Court of Special Appeals overturned a manslaughter conviction of a drunken driver because of double jeopardy, ruling that he had already been convicted of the offense, when he paid a $35 traffic citation for negligence.
"There is a lot of work to be done. The mere fact that there is a fatal with terrible pictures does not make the wheels spin faster," said Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly.
But Cassilly disputed the state police's assertion that he has instructed them to withhold the officer's name.
"All I have directed police to do is not to charge the individual until we have reviewed all the facts," Cassilly said. "We're not taking a position" on police releasing the name. "That's up to their policy."
State police spokeswoman Elena Russo said there are certain circumstances where suspects are identified after being involved in fatal crashes.
But in this case, Russo said, it is not clear whether the officer was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.
She also would not identify the registered owner of the vehicle involved, because she said it would reveal the police officer's name.
State police acknowledged that the omission the officer's name from list of detainees was deliberate but could not say whether it has been done in other instances.
"To protect the integrity of this case, we have redacted all of the information that could lead anybody to the naming of a possible suspect," Russo said.
JFK barracks commander Lt. Brian Reider said that the detention and prisoner property log contains the names of every person detained at that barracks "except for one person." When asked why it had been removed, he said, "I know you're trying to ID the Anne Arundel police officer, and I am not going to attempt to answer that question."
Martinez was driving to work at a construction site in Delaware early Monday when, police say, a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder traveling north on I-95 struck the rear of his Ford Explorer, which spun out of control, flipped over the guardrail and landed on the opposite side.
Anthony Keys Jr., 25, of Aberdeen told The Sun that he was driving south on I-95 when the Explorer landed in front of his vehicle. Keys said he stopped, got out, saw Martinez had head wounds and called 911.
On the other side of the highway, Keys said he saw a silver SUV with smoke coming from the front, which had sustained damage. Keys said he could not see inside the vehicle.
Cecil County Commissioner Wayne Tome, a Baltimore County Fire Department battalion chief on his way to work, pulled over and called for additional help. But the silver SUV took off as troopers began to arrive, Keys said.
Anne Arundel County police Chief James Teare Sr., who said Monday that he was "saddened and disturbed" that an officer might be involved, released another statement yesterday saying that his agency is cooperating with the investigation.
"We hold our officers to the highest ethical standards, and this allegation of misconduct is being investigated to the fullest extent." Teare said.
Martinez, 25, sat solemnly with her 3-year-old daughter Joslyn on her lap yesterday. She said the last time she saw her husband was when she kissed him goodbye before he left for work.
"I said goodbye, as normal, with a kiss, like we always did, but I never expected him not to return," she said in a statement.
Antonio Martinez will be buried in Central Mexico, which the family moved from four years ago. Attorneys would not say whether the family is in the country legally.
Sun reporters Mary Gail Hare and Madison Park contributed to this article.