By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun
7:39 PM EDT, September 1, 2011
A snowplow driver admitted Thursday that he didn't stop after he'd struck a pedestrian during a snowstorm in January.
The pedestrian, Richard Francis Oles, a retired Johns Hopkins University fencing coach, died of injuries he sustained after being clipped by the plow while walking on Mountain Road in Pasadena.
Maximilian Hopkins Bode, 21, of Pasadena pleaded guilty Thursday to leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He could receive up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine when sentenced in November, when four other counts will be dropped.
Bode was driving a Ford F-350 with a plow attached on the morning of Jan. 27. One of Bode's three passengers called 911 and reported that she saw the incident, which happened about 2:30 a.m. near Hog Neck Road. The caller did not admit to being inside the vehicle, but the dispatcher could hear shouts of "stop the truck" during the call, the prosecutor said Thursday.
The caller also told the dispatcher that she and others were coming from the Brass Rail, a pub on Hog Neck Road. Later that day, investigators watched security video taken outside the bar and concluded that they were looking for Bode's truck, Deputy State's Attorney William Roessler said.
Police later found Bode, but initially he did not admit to striking Oles. However, he soon told police: "A pedestrian was walking with traffic in the road, and I clipped him with the passenger side of the snowplow," according to Roessler. Bode was charged in April.
Asked before the hearing about the charges, which could have been more serious, Roessler said Bode was not given an alcohol breath test because too many hours had passed.
Oles, 77, retired from Hopkins in 2003 after coaching there for 45 years. He produced champions at several levels, including U.S. Olympic team members.
The night he was hit, Oles had coached a fencing club in Homeland, and his niece said she was awaiting a phone call to indicate he'd made it home safely. Kathy Martin said that instead, she received a call about 3:30 a.m. that Oles was in the hospital.
After the hearing before Judge Paul A. Hackner in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, Martin and Michael Oles said they wanted Bode to take responsibility for what he did to their uncle, who apparently had just begun a four-mile walk home from a gas station after his car broke down.
"We don't want his life destroyed just because Dick's ended," Martin Oles said.
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