Baltimore police searched Wednesday for a man who was released from the hospital before being charged with fleeing officers in Baltimore County and causing a crash that killed a 1-year-old boy at a bus stop over the weekend.
The suspect, Wayne Anthony Green Jr., 38, was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with minor injuries after the crash Sunday night and discharged Monday as police were still investigating the collision that killed Jeremiah Darrin Perry.
The boy's family questioned why Green wasn't taken into custody.
"How do you get loose in the hospital?" said Darrin Perry II, Jeremiah's father. "This is too much."
Green, of Baltimore, is wanted for charges of negligent manslaughter with an automobile, attempt by a driver to elude police by failing to stop, driving on a revoked license, and driving without a license. Police announced the charges Wednesday morning.
Authorities allege that Green first struck an unoccupied county police car parked near the scene of a fatal accident that killed Rosedale resident Randolph Croom, 51, in Baltimore County. They said Green fled and county police pursued him into the city, where he struck a Volvo in the 5300 block of Moravia Road, pushing it onto a curb where it hit Jeremiah. The boy was with his mother and in a stroller.
Jeremiah died that night at the hospital.
Online court records show that Green has a lengthy history of traffic-related charges. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to homicide by motor vehicle and driving while intoxicated in Baltimore County and was sentenced to three years. Police said at the time that he crossed a dividing line while driving in Woodlawn, killing Norman Generette, 54.
In that case, Green was charged with drunken driving and released on $20,000 bail, police said at the time. Court records show he was indicted five months later on manslaughter and homicide charges.
Hours after Green was released from the hospital early Monday, police received word from the state's attorney's office that Green would be charged in Jeremiah's death, said T.J. Smith, Baltimore police chief spokesman.
"We didn't know charges were going to be granted in the afternoon," Smith said. "Baltimore police didn't have a right to detain Green any longer than we could at that point in time. ... We do not want to inadvertently charge this person with something and they get off on a technicality."
Shock Trauma spokesman Bill Seiler said that when a patient is not in police custody, they are discharged based on their medical status.
Efforts to reach Green's family for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.
In a statement, State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said her office "worked quickly and closely with the police department" to obtain evidence to charge Green with vehicular manslaughter.
"If the suspect in this case was immediately charged with a lesser offense, due to double jeopardy, that could have legally obstructed us from attempting to seek more serious charges at the conclusion of the investigation," she said.
Smith said the situation is not unusual.
"Charges are never filed right then and there in hit-and-run or in fatal accident investigations," Smith said. "This all happened in a much quicker time frame than what normally happens as far as getting charges."
Perry said he wants to see Green held accountable for the charges. He said Jeremiah's death has devastated the family.
"You have no idea how much pain we are going through right now," Perry said. "He ain't even get to see his second Christmas, his second birthday. He ain't even get to go to school."
Green could also face charges in Baltimore County. A police spokeswoman said traffic charges are pending and county State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said his office would review the case.
The county Police Department is conducting an internal review of its pursuit of Green on Sunday night. Members of Jeremiah's family have questioned why county police pursued him into the city.
Authorities have been criticized in the past for the delay in filing charges in cases similar to Green's. Weeks passed before Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook was charged with drunken driving and texting in the death of bicyclist Thomas Palermo, and Johnny Johnson, who fled a state trooper and killed a city employee outside of City Hall in 2013, was not charged for a week.
Police, defense attorneys and former investigators have said such cases are complex and can take months, and authorities do not immediately charge lesser crimes that could legally obstruct prosecutors' attempts to seek more serious charges such as vehicular manslaughter or homicide.
Delays in charges are often attributed to a 1991 Maryland Court of Appeals decision in which John Charles Glaser's manslaughter conviction was overturned after the judges found that he had already admitted guilt when he paid a $35 traffic citation before the more serious charges had been brought.
A review of recent cases of deaths resulting from drunken driving in Baltimore show delays in charging that can stretch six months to a year or more.
It took more than 11 months after the death of Megan Martinek for Tina Carroll, who was driving when their car crashed into a tree in North Baltimore, to be indicted on homicide charges in 2013. She was convicted the following year.
Martinek's husband, Aaron, said police and prosecutors explained to him why the investigation was taking so long, which included pulling phone records to determine if Carroll had been on her phone, and doing blood work because she had not been given a breath test at the scene.
"It definitely seemed too long," Martinek said in an interview. "Waiting a year was nerve-racking. It's like, the wounds aren't healing. You're constantly in this up-and-down roller coaster that this hasn't been taken care of."