Former boyfriend charged in attack

Pickup rammed into house

woman, boy injured

July 30, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,SUN REPORTER

After she got a judge to grant a protective order against her ex-boyfriend, Debra Ferrick told Ronald Brandt Jr. to return her black Chevy pickup truck.

Police say the 50-year-old man did just that, slamming the vehicle into Ferrick's Linthicum home Monday evening as she sat on her front steps with an 11-year-old boy, breaking Ferrick's ankle and nearly severing the boy's foot.

Ferrick said that after the crash, Brandt got out of the vehicle, said, "How do you like me now?" and ran off.

"It happened so fast," Ferrick, 51, recalled yesterday. "I thought he was capable of hurting people, but not something like this."

Police found Brandt hiding in a wooded area a short distance away, and after a struggle he was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, violation of a protective order, resisting arrest and threats of arson.

He will have a bail review hearing in Anne Arundel County District Court today.

Eleven-year-old Cody Braun, whose mother rents a room in Ferrick's home, was recovering at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center after his ankle was rebuilt with pins, and Ferrick sobbed as the boy's mother relayed the information over the telephone.

Cody reportedly lost a significant amount of skin and muscle and was to receive skin grafts to repair the damage.

"I felt like it was my fault. I know it's not, but it felt like it was my fault that it happened to this poor child," Ferrick said.

Speaking from her kitchen yesterday, she was sporting several bruises and walking with the aid of a cane.

Hours before the incident, Ferrick had been in District Court in Glen Burnie, where a judge granted a restraining order against Brandt, ordering him not to have any contact with Ferrick and to stay away from her home, where he had rented a room for about three years. They had begun dating after about six months, she said.

In court papers, she alleged that on July 21 he had tried to run her over and that he had been abusive. "He has thrown full beer cans at my head and punched holes in my walls," she wrote.

Brandt did not attend Monday's hearing, but Ferrick said he called later in the day to ask what had happened. He became angry when she told him to bring back the truck, which they apparently had purchased jointly, and allegedly said he was going to burn the house down and kill her.

Ferrick said she called police, asking an officer to recover the truck from Brandt's workplace. She said the officer said he did not see the truck there, and when she called a supervisor she was told that she should get the vehicle back herself, despite the freshly issued protective order.

Sgt. John Gilmer, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Police Department, said he would request an inquiry into Ferrick's concerns but could not comment on the case beyond a news release because he had not viewed charging documents.

Sometime before 8 p.m., Ferrick said, she was sitting with Cody on the front steps of her house in the 800 block of Nursery Road when Brandt drove by. She said he stuck his middle finger out the window, and she dialed 911.

As she spoke to the emergency dispatcher, Brandt apparently turned around in a parking lot and began driving toward the home. Police said the last thing she said was "Ronald Brandt" before the line went dead.

The truck drove up onto the front lawn, avoiding a small gate with a bird feeder and wind chime, and crashed into the front steps, throwing Cody into the air after his foot got tangled beneath the vehicle. The truck then skidded against the Formstone front of the house and came to rest in a small garden.

Ferrick said a passing bicyclist tended to Cody until officers arrived.

She said a gas can was recovered from the truck, which Gilmer said he could not confirm or deny.

Police said Brandt refused to comply with officers, who used a Taser to subdue him. He was taken to Baltimore Washington Medical Center and then transported to the Anne Arundel County Detention Center.

Yesterday, Ferrick's brother and another man cleaned up debris in the front yard - the railing to the steps, a Chevy logo and piece of a headlight, a smashed lawn ornament and shattered glass.

Court records show that Brandt, who has been divorced at least twice, has several prior arrests. He was found not guilty of battery in 1994, and assault and battery charges were dropped in 1996. He was twice found guilty of drug possession, in 2001 and 2005.

Reached by telephone, Brandt's father, whose home is Brandt's listed address in court records, said he did not want to comment.

Ferrick said her relationship with Brandt was fine for the first few months. She said he was nice and took her out on dates. But she said he soon became controlling, and it was clear to her that he had a drinking problem.

"I finally woke myself up to follow through with this petition" for a protective order, she said.

Sitting on a picnic table outside her home, Ferrick said the moment will be a turning point in her life.

"It'll come together - my life will change for the best," she said. "I'm done being kindhearted and being taken advantage of and used."

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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