W.Va. suspect hangs himself in jail cell

July 17, 1997


Staff Writer

A Martinsburg, W.Va., man hanged himself in a holding cell at the Maryland State Police barracks in Hagerstown early Wednesday, just hours after his second drunken driving arrest in three days.

Terry Glen Lane, 49, of the 100 block of South Illinois Avenue, was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital at 5:20 a.m. Wednesday, hospital officials said.

Lane was found hanging from the cell door with his shirt tied around his neck, said Sgt. Laura Lu Herman, state police spokeswoman at the agency's headquarters in Pikesville.


A television system that monitors the two downstairs holding cells at the barracks was disconnected because of construction in the upstairs office of the duty officer, Herman said.

Because of the construction, frequent visual checks were made of the detention cell where Lane, the only prisoner, was housed, Herman said. She wouldn't elaborate on how often those checks were made.

When Lane was found hanging, he was immediately taken down and CPR was initiated by barracks personnel, Herman said.

An ambulance was requested at 4:23 a.m.

Minutes later, Lane was taken to the hospital by Community Rescue Service personnel, arriving at 5:12 a.m.

Lane's body was taken to Baltimore where an autopsy is expected to be performed to determine the exact cause of death, Herman said.

The Tuesday night arrest began with an 11:08 p.m. telephone call to state police by a convenience store clerk who reported that a man left the store in an intoxicated condition.

At 11:25 p.m., Lane, in a rented Ford Contour, was near a restaurant just west of U.S. 40 and Edgewood Drive, Herman said. Trooper 1st Class David Harper made the arrest and took Lane to the barracks, leaving the rental car behind.

At the barracks, officers began a series of tests to determine Lane's level of intoxication, Herman said. Before the testing was completed, he refused to cooperate further, police said.

At that point, his shoes, shoe laces and belt were taken from him and he was placed in the holding cell, Herman said. Taking such items is standard procedure when people are detained at the barracks, Herman said.

On July 13, Lane was arrested at 1:16 p.m. by Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Keys on Bottom Road near the R.C. Willson Water Plant in Williamsport.

He was charged with driving while intoxicated and later released, according to Sgt. Doug Mullendore.

Initially, state police gave a Silver Spring, Md., address for Lane, but when he was arrested last Sunday he gave deputies an address of 103 S. Illinois Ave. in Martinsburg.

Lane's mother, Geraldine Lane, answered the phone Wednesday afternoon but handed the phone to an unidentified person who said the family had no comment on Lane's death.

Lane was a 1966 graduate of Martinsburg High School, according to school records.

Recently retired barracks commander Cecil Bittinger said he was not aware of any previous successful suicides in holding cells at the 25-year-old barracks off Md. 65 south of Hagerstown.

In 1995, there were three suicides and several suicide attempts at the Washington County Detention Center.

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