Police identify crash fatality, family mourns

Family says it was unaware a police officer was involved

October 09, 2010|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

Almost one week after a fatal crash involving an Annapolis police officer, police released the identity of the victim.

Baltimore police said Andrew Arnold-McCoy 19, of Glen Burnie was killed in the Oct. 3 crash, but McCoy's father said that police did not tell the family how the crash happened or that an officer was involved until almost a week later.

"We are just frustrated," said Michael Schearer, McCoy's father. "It's hard to have closure if you don't know what happened."

The accident occurred at the intersection of Potee Street and Patapsco Avenue in Brooklyn, but the city's department crash team did not respond because members of the crash team were attending the funeral of Officer James Fowler at St. Mark Church in Catonsville on Monday. A crash team from the Maryland Transportation Authority investigated.

"The delay was for the process of transferring paperwork over from a state agency to a city agency," said Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. "There's still a lot of loose ends," including the results for the drivers' blood alcohol level and drug tests, he said.

Schearer said a city police officer notified the family of his son's death early Monday morning, but he was not able to reach the officer that week and no one from the transportation authority contacted him.

"We didn't have any contact with anyone," Schearer said, saying he did not believe police deliberately withheld information, but that the family was upset it took so long to learn what had happened.

He said he didn't realize a police officer was involved in the crash until reading news reports: "We read [about it]," he said. "That was the first time we heard anything about the other person."

On Saturday, a city police officer contacted the family and gave it more details, but the crash remains under investigation.

"They called it the perfect storm of miscommunication," Schearer said. "I understand it takes a while" for the investigation, but he said the family was told nothing about what happened to McCoy.

Authorities did not notify the news media of the accident until Thursday afternoon, when Annapolis police sent out a news release saying one of their off-duty officers had been involved in a fatal crash. That night, city police referred questions to the Transportation Authority. Spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Green confirmed that the accident had occurred but declined to release additional details, including the victim's name, saying he could not comment further while the investigation continued.

On Saturday, Guglielmi confirmed the victim's identity.

Guglielmi said, "These accidents take time to investigate, especially in the case of a fatality. I know [officers] reached out," but he said that there was little information to release.

He said McCoy was riding with Philip Dornberger, 19, of Pasadena east on Patapsco Avenue when he collided with Officer James Salyers, who was driving south on Potee Street in a Cadillac CTS.

Police said it is unclear which driver had the red light.

McCoy was thrown from the car and died later that night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. His memorial service was held Friday afternoon at the Singleton Funeral Home in Glen Burnie.

Salyers, 51, joined Annapolis police Aug. 26 and has been placed on administrative duty, according to Annapolis police. He was off-duty at the time and was driving his personal vehicle, police said.

Schearer said McCoy was most likely visiting friends in the area when the crash occurred.

He said his son lived at home and worked at the Walmart in Severn. He loved skateboarding: "He took his skateboard everywhere."

Schearer said McCoy was the loving big brother, leaving behind three siblings, 16, 3 and 1 year old.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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