The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health administration is investigating the death Wednesday of a laborer who was crushed between a crane lift and a trailer in Columbia.

Darrell Joseph Dieter, 27, of Gainesville, Texas, died shortly after arrival at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, county police said. He had suffered severe internal injuries in the accident, which occurred at the General Electric plant on Oakland Mills Road.

Police said Dieter and other workers were removing propane storage tanks at the plant shortly before 3:20 p.m. when a crane lift device suddenly lurched forward and pinned Dieter to a nearby trailer.

Dieter was taken by ambulance to Shock Trauma with several pelvic fractures and interior bleeding, police said.

He suffered cardiac arrest during surgery.

Police said Dieter had arrived in Maryland to work for two months at the plant, which recently closed.

Dieter was part of a three-man team assigned to remove storage tanks from the facility.

The safety and health administration has been notified of the accident and has begun an investigation to determine if proper safety procedures were followed at the work site, police said.


Five people were arrested Wednesday in a Jessup motel, where narcotics investigators suspect crack cocaine was being sold in several rooms, county police said.

Police received a tip last month from an anonymous caller, who told them that large amounts of drugs were being sold out of the Cedar Motel on U.S. 1, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county police spokesman.

Narcotics officers recently began watching the motel and "began noticing a lot of traffic in and out of a few of the rooms," Gardner said.

OnWednesday afternoon, two people left one of the rooms and got into acar in the parking lot and drove off, only to be pulled over a shortwhile later for a motor vehicle violation, Gardner said.

The driver of the car, Willie Hunter Jr., 40, of the 300 block of T Street inWashington, was arrested for operating with a suspended driver's license. Police then searched the car and found 16 "rocks" of crack cocaine, Gardner said.

Each of the rocks weighed approximately 1 gram.Value of the drugs seized is about $1,600, police said.

Hunter was also charged with possession of cocaine, police said.

Police returned to the motel and arrested four people who had been staying there after a search revealed numerous drug-related paraphernalia, such as crack vials, plastic bags, and chemical burners, Gardner said.

Those arrested at the motel were Douglas Taylor, 24, of the 200 block of Red Clay Road in Laurel; and John Taylor, 31, Shannis Johnson, 21,and Barbara Harris, 41, all of whom list their address as the hotel,police said.

Each was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

All five suspects were released on their own personal recognizance.


A 14-year-old boy was assaulted and robbed Tuesday by at least two men on Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia.

The teen-ager reported he was walking along theroad near The

Mall in Columbia when he was approached by several people who asked him if he wanted to go drink beer, police said. The group walked behind the Rouse Co. building in the 10200 block shortlybefore 6:40 p.m., and the victim was knocked to the ground.

Police said an undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the victim, who was not injured.

A compilation of some of the crimes reported to Howard County police:


9400 block Old Deep Court: June 3,someone threw a rock through a window and entered a home sometime before 5:30 p.m.. It is unknown whether anything was taken.


2000 block St. James Road: June 3, a screen of a rear patio door to a home was pried sometime before 11:55 p.m., but no entry wasgained.

3100 block Normandy Woods Drive: June 2, an Isuzu Samuraivehicle was stolen sometime before 11:55 p.m. from a residential area.

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