City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

May 31, 2008

Woman killed in accident on Interstate 83

A 52-year-old woman was killed yesterday when she tried to drive from the right shoulder of Interstate 83 across two lanes of traffic in the northbound lanes and was hit by an oncoming vehicle, Maryland State Police said.

Jo Ellen Hardesty of Lutherville was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel, police said.

Her white 2002 Kia was struck on the driver's door by the other car, a black 2003 Infiniti, about 5:20 p.m. near the Baltimore Beltway. The accident caused major delays during the evening rush hour, police said.

Information about the driver of the Infiniti was not available last night.

Baltimore County

Cockeysville

Hearing delayed in killing of family

A Baltimore County judge has postponed until July a hearing that had been scheduled for next week to determine whether the Cockeysville teenager accused of killing his parents and two younger brothers should be tried in the juvenile system or remain in adult court.

Attorneys for Nicholas W. Browning, 16, asked the judge to reschedule the hearing to give mental health experts more time to review hundreds of pages of school and medical records and to finish their assessments of the boy.

This month, the lawyers also arranged for Browning to be taken from the Baltimore County Detention Center, where he is being held without bail, to a medical office for an MRI, court records show.

Browning, a sophomore at Dulaney High School, is accused of fatally shooting his parents, John W. Browning and Tamara Browning, and his brothers, Gregory, 14, and Benjamin, 11, as they slept in their Cockeysville home.

The deaths in February occurred a week before the defendant's 16th birthday. Had Browning been 16 at the time of the killings, the case could not be considered for a transfer to juvenile court.

Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger also granted a request from the representatives of the Browning parents' estate to retrieve "certain personal and sentimental items" that police seized during their investigation.

"I fully understand that many of the items will need to be kept by you and possibly not even disclosed at this time, until the prosecution has been completed," one attorney for the estate wrote to prosecutors. He added, however, that family members were eager for the return of the couple's wedding rings and a collection of family photos that authorities had developed and printed.

The images, the attorney wrote, are "the most recent and last known photos of the family together."

JENNIFER MCMENAMIN

Woodlawn

Body identified as that of man, 18

County police identified yesterday the man whose body was found Thursday evening in a wooded area near Woodlawn Cemetery as Steven Parrish, 18, of the 6400 block of Woodgreen Circle in Gwynn Oak.

Police said they were treating the incident as a homicide and were waiting for results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

According to investigators, witnesses said they saw Parrish and another man enter the woods behind the first block of Thornhurst Court about 4:50 p.m. Thursday and then heard a commotion. No one immediately investigated or called authorities, police said. About 6:20 p.m., an unidentified man told neighbors that there was a body in the woods, and police were called.

Police said they are seeking witnesses and information in the killing. Anyone with information is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP (866-756-2587).

Anne Arundel

Education

150 teaching positions restored to budget

One hundred fifty teaching jobs in Anne Arundel County that were expected to go unfilled in the next school year have been restored, Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell announced yesterday, one day after county leaders approved a budget that included enough money for the positions.

The move, which comes nearly three months after school officials warned of a reduction in teacher staffing, could also mean that teachers who were told to find jobs in new schools will be scrambling to get their current jobs back.

Faced with a funding gap after County Executive John R. Leopold proposed his budget May 1 - $51 million short of the school board's request but 5 percent more than this year - the school system said it would eliminate the 150 jobs being vacated by retiring or resigning teachers and told 125 teachers to find jobs elsewhere, schools spokesman Bob Mosier said. He estimated that 25 have landed new positions.

The County Council, meanwhile, approved a budget Wednesday for the year beginning July 1 that freed up $13.7 million in school funding, some of which will pay for the restored positions.

School officials said yesterday that 89 of the teaching jobs have already been reallocated to specific schools while the rest will be assigned based on next year's enrollment numbers.

"We are encouraged to see them restored, but it's going to have some impact on some individual personnel cases that we are currently handling that involve involuntary transfers of teachers and, in some cases, the non-renewal of provisional contracts," said Bill Jones, executive director of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County.

Teachers who have arranged employment at other schools have until Wednesday to apply to get back their current posts.

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