Four thieves are being sought by Maryland State Police for stealing a John Deere lawn tractor from a newly constructed Cecil County Lowe's and fleeing police before crashing a stolen pickup, an accident that resulted in the death of a fifth thief.
David L. Roland, 35, of Elkton, was pronounced dead at Christiana Hospital, where he was flown from the crash scene by a police helicopter, troopers said Tuesday.
The truck driven by one of the thieves pulled in front of and collided with a 2000 Oldsmobile Integra driven by Stephen H. Kiszenia, 34, of Chesapeake City. Kiszenia, who was treated and released by Union Hospital in Elkton for minor injuries, was driving east on Route 40, just west of Route 272, at the time of the accident, according to troopers.
At about 4:30 p.m. Monday, an employee at the home improvement store, which has not yet opened, saw five people in dark, hooded sweat shirts using pallets as a ramp to load the tractor into the back of a pickup, troopers said.
The tractor was in a fenced area at the back of the store with other inventory. The employee closed the gate to the fenced area and called 911, according to a police statement. The thieves tried to flee the scene when they saw the gate being closed.
Troopers said the group's driver rammed the gate several times before pushing it up and driving under it. As the truck passed under the fence, the mower fell off. The truck, with four people in the cab and one, later identified as Roland, in the truck bed, sped toward Route 40.
As the truck entered Route 40, the driver failed to yield to Kiszenia and drove directly into the path of his Oldsmobile. The force of the crash ejected Roland from the truck bed and projected him across the eastbound lanes, the median, and the westbound lanes, where his body came to rest in the ditch, troopers said.
When troopers arrived at the crash scene, the four remaining members of the group had fled.
The truck and the lawn mower were taken as evidence.
Maryland State Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash or who may have information about the remaining four thieves to contact the North East Barrack at 410-996-7800. Callers may remain confidential.