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Del. Dwyer admits to drinking in Arundel boating accident

Magothy River accident injured six others, including children

August 23, 2012|By Kevin Rector and Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

Three nearby boats responded to pull those injured from the water, taking most to the Gibson Island area, where they were met by emergency responders who had been called to the scene by someone on shore, said Lt. Keith Hamilton, a county fire spokesman.

Dwyer and a 40-year-old man identified as Earl Mitchell were taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Dwyer was listed in fair condition shortly before the news conference, a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday. Mitchell was discharged early Thursday.

Albert said the Bayliner was piloted by Randy Harbin, and Mitchell, a neighbor, was the only adult passenger. He declined to name the children but said there were five with them.

Hamilton said Harbin, 51, was taken to Baltimore Washington Medical Center with less serious injuries, Hamilton said. Hospital officials said a Mark R. Harbin had been discharged.

Two boys, ages 12 and 7, and a 5-year-old girl were transported — the girl by Maryland State Police helicopter — in serious condition to the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Trauma Center, Hamilton said. A 10-year-old boy was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital's emergency room.

One adult and one child refused treatment at the scene, Hamilton said.

Del. Nic Kipke, a Pasadena Republican, said he got a flood of phone calls and texts after the collision from friends who live in the area, who told him that Dwyer's boat was involved in the accident.

Kipke wished everyone involved a speedy recovery. "Delegate Dwyer and I have gotten to know each other over many years, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and the other families that have been injured," he said.

Dwyer, one of the most conservative members of the state legislature, has been in the House of Delegates since 2003 and is a member of the Judiciary Committee. He is a strong supporter of gun rights. In the last session, Dwyer said his only goal was to block the passage of same-sex marriage.

He was born in Annapolis and graduated from Glen Burnie High School in 1976. He is married with three children.

What the collision and Dwyer's admission that he was drinking will mean for his political career is unclear, said Dan Nataf, director of Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College.

Dwyer's district has become increasingly Republican, and a strong candidate might be able to "topple him in the primary," Nataf said. He said some of Dwyer's political positions "seem to be religiously imbued and morally unambiguous," and appeal to voters who have similar beliefs.

"I think it could affect him in that people will scratch their heads and say: 'Is there a Don Dwyer we didn't really know?'" Nataf said.

He said, nevertheless, that "people are very forgiving ... [and] may say, 'It's one time. There is nobody who stood up on certain issues the way [Dwyer] has.'"

Gov. Martin O'Malley declined to comment Thursday on Dwyer's involvement in the collision, but through a spokeswoman said he "is very concerned for those who were involved in the crash and wishes for a speedy recovery."

House Speaker Michael E. Busch was not available for comment.

"Many questions still remain after Delegate Dwyer's statements, but we appreciate the candidness of his remarks and expect that more answers will be forthcoming in the near future," the Republican State Central Committee of Anne Arundel County said in a statement released Thursday night.

Like others, the committee praised those involved in the rescue and expressed concern for the people who were injured.

Baltimore Sun reporters Annie Linskey and Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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