City police major suspended after abandoning car

Head of homicide went off road on I-95 in Howard County

March 07, 2011|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore police commander in charge of the homicide squad was suspended Monday after he apparently skidded off an Interstate 95 exit ramp and abandoned his unmarked cruiser, according to spokesmen for city and state police.

Maj. Terrence P. McLarney, a 34-year veteran, will be paid while awaiting the outcome of the investigation. Failure to immediately report an accident, or even a breakdown, is against department rules and regulations. A city police spokesman said the suspension is routine and required during an active investigation.

A state trooper assigned to the Waterloo barracks found the city-owned 2006 Ford Taurus near Route 32 in Howard County shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday, according to spokesman Gregory M. Shipley. The windows were up and the doors were locked, and there was minor damage to the front bumper where it hit brush, he said.

McLarney did not return e-mail messages seeking comment. Shipley said investigators have not confirmed who had been driving the vehicle, but the chief spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department said it was McLarney.

That spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, described damage as "superficial" and resulted from the car "colliding with brush of the roadway." He said the commissioner put McLarney on suspension to separate him from the investigation.

Guglielmi said McLarney had been working on a rash of homicides that occurred over the weekend. But it was unclear where the commander was headed when the accident occurred between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., or how he got home.

Shipley said a motorist called to report the abandoned car. He said the driver apparently went off the left shoulder of the exit ramp leading from southbound I-95 to westbound Route 32, went down an embankment and stopped in some brush.

The trooper ran the license plate and discovered the vehicle was registered to Baltimore City. He had it towed to storage and learned about two hours later that it was a police vehicle assigned to the homicide commander.

Shipley said it is a violation to leave the scene of an accident with property damage. But Shipley said there is so little damage to the vehicle that a decision to issue a citation might be left up to prosecutors after the investigation is complete.

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