New speed camera replaced after previous device set ablaze

Within days of the destruction of a speed camera in the 400 block of South Rolling Road, a new one had taken its place.

It is not clear when exactly the new camera was installed, however.

Baltimore County police said Tuesday that a camera had been installed at that location Monday afternoon to replace one destroyed after a vandal set fire to it during the early morning hours of April 20.

But Martin Haggerty, who lives across the street from the site of the camera, said he spoke with a worker from ACS State & Local Solutions on Tuesday, April 24, who said he had installed the camera after 9 a.m. that day.

Haggerty also said an accident occurred on the street earlier that morning and police confirmed that a three-car accident was reported between the 300 and 500 blocks of South Rolling Road before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Police called the accident minor and said a woman was taken to Saint Agnes Hospital with minor injuries.

Haggerty said he has witnessed several accidents on the busy Catonsville road and has been vocal in his support of having a speed camera installed along South Rolling Road.

A resident of the 400 block of South Rolling Road, Haggerty said he had only been asleep for a few hours when his wife, Erin, woke him Friday morning with news of the blaze in the early morning hours of April 20.

Haggerty said he smelled smoke and could see flames shooting 6 to 10 feet into the air in the area from the spot where Baltimore County police had installed the speed camera a week earlier.

"It was going off like it was a Christmas tree," Haggerty said.

Engine 41 from the Catonsville Fire Station arrived at the scene after receiving a 911 call at around 1:40 a.m. and extinguished the fire, according to a release from Baltimore County Public Safety.

Police investigators arrived on the scene after firefighters and classified the fire as a first-degree malicious burning, the release stated.

The term "arson" is only applied to the intentional burning of structures.

Baltimore County police continue to investigate the speed camera fire, which caused $13,000 worth of damage. Police have no suspects, the release stated.

Baltimore County police spokeswoman Susan Hunt asked anyone with information about the destruction of the camera to call the Fire Investigation Division at 410-887-4870.

Fire after move to new site

The damage to the camera came a week after police had moved it from the 500 block of South Rolling Road, near Catonsville High School, to the location near the intersection of South Rolling and Brook roads.

Police had planned to alternate the camera between the two locations.

Both sites are located between Hillcrest Elementary School on Frederick Road and Catonsville High School on Bloomsbury Avenue.

County law requires speed cameras to be placed in school zones.

Haggerty called the torching of the speed camera "urban terrorism" and said it was lucky that none of the vegetation near the blaze also caught fire.

"My children, it frightened them. It frightened all my neighbors," said Haggerty, whose children are ages 6 and 9. "It would frighten anybody, parents or not. It's not right."

"There are better ways to send a message about speed cameras," he said.

Police installed the camera on the 500 block of South Rolling Road near the high school on Oct. 3.

Within its first 30 days, the camera recorded 2,486 instances of drivers exceeding the 30 mph limit by 12 mph or more.

Del. James Malone, who represents District 12A, which includes Catonsville, cited the work Haggerty and his wife did with local and state legislators as part of the reason the camera was installed at the 400 block of South Rolling Road.

The camera is positioned about .7 miles from Hillcrest Elementary School on Frederick Road.

It is .5 miles from Catonsville High School on Bloomsbury Avenue near the intersection with South Rolling Road.

Baltimore County has installed 15 speed cameras in school zones.

Two more, one near Perry Hall High School and another near Johnnycake Elementary School in Westview, are scheduled to become operational May 1.

Violators face a $40 fine, but no points on their driving record.

This story has been updated.

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