Posted On: May 27, 2010

DC Juvenile Justice May Need Overhaul

Following the murder of a school principle in Washington, D.C., the effectiveness and procedures of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) is under scrutiny. The three young men accused of the crime were arrested while under the supervision of DYRS. According to The Washington Post, the principle was targeted for robbery, and each of the three 18-year-old suspects had criminal backgrounds and had been committed to the city's youth services department for previous crimes.

With these arrests, seven people who had been under the care of DYRS have now been charged with homicide this year. Some believe these arrests should serve as examples that the service releases youth back into the communities too quickly, and they are urging the government to investigate DYRS.

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Posted On: May 25, 2010

Maryland Court to Determine Constitutionality of Liability Cap in Wrongful Death Case

The Maryland Court of Appeals will soon decide whether or not a general liability cap placed on the monetary damages awarded to the family of a young boy violates their equal protection principles. The case before the high court stems from the 2006 drowning death of a 5-year-old boy in a country club swimming pool. A Maryland jury awarded the boy's family $4 in the wrongful death case; however, the trial judge reduced the amount to approximately $1 million citing Maryland's non-economic damages cap in general personal injury cases.

According to American Medical News, the family had appealed the decision, but judges referred to a precedent finding that caps served a government purpose in continuing to ensure insurance is affordable and available. Representatives from the Maryland State Medical Society want to see the precedent stand. They believe that overturning the cap would not only go against decades of Maryland law, but it could also disrupt the medical liability law that helps keep doctors in practice.

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Posted On: May 20, 2010

How to Drive Safely Around Large Trucks

No motorist sharing the road with tractor-trailer drivers can make the trip entirely safe. However, there are safety tips that motorists can utilize to help avoid a collision with a large truck. Tractor-trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Differences in visibility, maneuverability, and braking distances all make the rules for large trucks different than those for drivers of passenger cars. However, passenger car drivers can significantly increase their risk of a truck accident unless they follow a few simple rules for sharing the road safely.

  1. Respect a truck’s blind spots. Trucks usually have large blind spots directly behind and in front of them, as well as on each side. Some trucks even post a diagram on the back of the trailer showing which zones to avoid. To maximize the chance a truck driver will see you, always stay where you can see the truck driver or the truck’s mirrors.

  2. Do not brake suddenly in front of a truck. Trucks need considerably more space to stop than passenger vehicles. Always leave plenty of room between your car and a truck. If you are passing a truck, wait until you can see the truck’s entire front end in your mirrors before you move into the lane in front of the truck.

  3. Never tailgate a truck. The back of most commercial tractor-trailers is so high that the hood of most passenger cars will pass beneath it. This deprives you of the safety provided by your car’s “crumple zones” and puts the point of impact on the windshield, directly in front of your face. Always leave plenty of space between your car and the truck in front of you. This space gives you room to stop and makes it easier for you to see upcoming hazards, as well as for the truck driver to see you.

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Posted On: May 18, 2010

Multiple Baltimore Shootings Now Under Police Investigation

Maryland ABC affiliate WJZ reported recently that a rash of Baltimore shootings is now under police investigation. In one incident on April 16, two men were shot and wounded. Both men were taken to Sinai Hospital, where one, who had been shot in the head, was pronounced dead upon arrival. The other, who suffered injuries to his back, remains in critical condition at Sinai.

Another shooting the same night resulted from a botched home invasion. Two men attempting to enter a home were confronted by the 23-year-old resident, who was shot in the incident. The 23-year-old was taken to Johns Hopkins, where he was pronounced dead. Police have made one arrest in that Maryland violent crime case.

Later that same night, a 30-year-old man was shot during an argument outside a liquor store. The shooter remains at large, while the victim is expected to recover.

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Posted On: May 14, 2010

Caregiver Pleads Guilty to Neglecting Vulnerable Adults

A former adult male caregiver recently pleaded guilty to three counts of neglecting vulnerable adults, according to WJZ-13 News. The caregiver admitted to leaving three severely disabled men sitting in a locked car in a diner parking lot while he ate lunch.

Patrons at the diner contacted police when they realized that the three men had been left in the closed car and that the temperature outdoors was near 75 degrees. Although none of the three men could speak, all appeared to police to be in distress: all three were sweating profusely, and one was banging his head against the closed car window.

The caregiver did not think leaving the men in the car would be a problem. He left them there because he says they would have been uncomfortable in the diner, which was crowded and busy. He said the head-banging behavior was normal for the men. At his court hearing, the caregiver said that he had cared for the men for eight years and that the incident had been blown out of proportion.

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Posted On: May 11, 2010

Speeding Drug Suspects Accused of Vehicular Homicide

Recently, two drug suspects allegedly caused an accident that led to the death of an 86-year-old man after they reportedly fled police officers who were attempting to stop their vehicle for questioning. According to a Baltimore Sun report, officers in plain clothes approached a black Acura based on a suspicion of drug activity after seeing a man whom they believe conducted a drug transaction. Allegedly, the suspects were in the vehicle.

When the police officers attempted to box in the Acura, the suspects allegedly sped away from the scene. The officers hurried to their vehicles and an immediate pursuit followed.

The police believe the Acura eventually crashed into the elderly couple’s vehicle and later crashed into a fire hydrant. The impact of the collision caused the vehicle of the elderly couple to collide into the home of a nearby resident. The 86-year-old man was taken to the hospital where he later died. He was the father of a city patrol officer. The police declined to release the patrol officer’s name. The elderly woman who accompanied the elderly man was listed in serious condition.

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Posted On: May 7, 2010

Maryland Pedestrian Accident Kills Teenage Mother

A teenage mother returning home after shopping for baby clothes for her son was struck and killed by a pickup truck while she was trying to cross the street at a Baltimore county intersection. According to a Baltimore Sun article, the mother was pushing a baby stroller with her son inside when the incident occurred.

The infant boy was not injured in the Maryland pedestrian accident. Family members of the victim believe the young mother pushed the stroller that carried her son out of the way before she was struck and killed. The police could not confirm whether the force of the impact or the mother’s bravery pushed the infant’s stroller away from harm.

The father of the infant had reported the mother and son missing after they failed to return home after a trip to a local shopping center. His worst fears were confirmed when he learned of an accident involving a pedestrian and stroller. The father was reunited with his son at Maryland Shock Trauma Center where the toddler was being held overnight for evaluation.

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Posted On: May 6, 2010

DUI-Related Motorcycle Accidents Have Decreased

Statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that DUI-related motorcycle accidents have decreased in the Washington, DC area in the past six years. The greatest decreases have been in DUI-related motorcycle accidents that caused death.

In 2008, the most recent year for which NHTSA has completed its statistical analysis, five motorists in DC were killed in accidents involving both a motorcycle and a person driving under the influence of alcohol. The statistics do not show which party in each accident was driving under the influence, nor which party was killed. However, the number of DUI-related motorcycle accidents has decreased significantly from 2004, in which twenty-one such accidents resulted in deaths.

NHTSA has released a preliminary report discussing traffic safety statistics from 2009, but the agency has not specified how many of 2009’s Washington, DC traffic accidents involved a drunk driver.

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