Hollywood Octogenarian Killed by State Police Vehicle

CALIFORNIA, Md. (January 20, 2011) — Buhrman K. Baird, 88, of Hollywood, was fatally injured Wednesday night when he was struck by an off-duty state trooper. Police say Baird was walking in the roadway pushing a lawnmower while dressed in dark clothing. Baird was pronounced dead at the scene.

The trooper driving the vehicle which struck Baird was identified as Trooper First Class Wesley Goldston, 33, who is assigned to the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division. He is a 15-year veteran of the Maryland State Police. TFC Goldston was off-duty, driving an unmarked, white, 2010 Jeep Laredo, registered to the Maryland State Police and assigned to the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division. He was not injured.

The crash occurred shortly after 7:00 p.m. Wednesday in the southbound lane of Mervell Dean Road, north of Beck Road, in Hollywood. The preliminary investigation by troopers from the State Police CRASH Team and the Leonardtown Barrack indicates TFC Goldston was southbound on Mervell Dean Road, when he came upon a person in dark clothing walking south in the roadway directly in front of his vehicle. TFC Goldston took evasive action, but was unable to avoid striking the person, later identified as Baird.

Investigators say Baird was dressed in black boots, black pants, a dark green camouflage jacket, a dark blue jacket, and a tan fisherman's hat. CRASH Team investigators say they found no evidence of speed being a factor. Their preliminary investigation indicates Baird was walking in the roadway, directly in the path of the oncoming vehicle. He was pushing a lawn mower in front of him, which he was apparently known to do frequently, according to people in the community who often saw him walking.

State Police investigators interviewed a witness who said he had seen a man described as Baird walking in the roadway on Beck Road earlier and had swerved and blown his horn. This same witness later saw what appeared to be the same man walking in the travel portion of Mervell Dean Road. The witness said he saw a white vehicle approach and swerve suddenly.

Police made no mention in their press release as to whether or not this last witness attempted to aid the elderly man or notify police after seeing him in the roadway twice in the same evening.

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