Trooper in Fatal Yogi Crash Back on Duty - Southern Maryland Headline News

Trooper in Fatal Yogi Crash Back on Duty




By Guy Leonard, The County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md.—The Maryland State Police trooper who struck and killed an 87-year-old pedestrian in Hollywood last year has returned to duty after an administrative investigation into the events of that night, The County Times has learned.

Trooper Wesley Goldston, who struck Buhrman “Yogi” Baird as he walked along Mervell Dean Road the night of Jan. 20, 2011, is continuing his duties with the Automotive Safety Division of the state police, spokesman Greg Shipley confirmed Wednesday.

Shipley said that because Goldston’s administrative investigation was a personnel matter, he could not say whether the trooper had been found guilty of any policy violations.

Shipley also confirmed that State’s Attorney Richard Fritz sent a letter in late December stating the county will not press any charges against Goldston for Baird’s death.

Fritz has not returned repeated calls over the course of several weeks for comment since the County Times first learned of his letter to the state police.

The official state police crash investigation claimed that Baird, who was a community fixture for walking along county roads pushing his red lawnmower, was in the roadway when he was hit by Goldston, who was driving a state-owned Jeep well over the posted speed limit of 40-miles-per-hour.

The analysis conducted revealed that Goldston was doing 52 miles-per-hour when he struck Baird and dragged him 225 feet, crushing Baird underneath both the car and his lawnmower.

In a statement to investigators, Goldston said he did not see Baird until the moment of impact, and the conditions on the road were dark.

“Goldston felt the collision could have been avoided if the pedestrian was not in the roadway,” the crash investigator wrote in the report.

But two witnesses to the crash, Charles Eddleman of St. Leonard and Elizabeth Quade of Mechanicsville, both wrote statements saying that while conditions were dark, there was still sufficient street lighting, and a full moon that night.

Both witnesses stated they were able to see Baird, or at least what they believed to be an object in the road, before the impact – one witness from 25 feet away and another from 150 feet.

The report also stated that witnesses saw Baird try to move away from the oncoming vehicle.

Accident reconstruction drawings in the report showed that Goldston was driving on the white line at the side of the road when he struck Baird.

See The County Time’s articles on the crash and following investigation, as well as the full official crash report online at countytimes.somd.com/special/2011/yogi/.

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