Police log

September 15, 1997

Inmate prevented from hanging self

An inmate at the Washington County Detention Center tried to hang himself Monday, but guards quickly intervened, officials said.

Jeffery Ray, 33, was taken to Washington County Hospital as a precaution and then returned, said Lt. Van Evans, the facility's warden.

Evans said Ray tied to hang himself in his cell at about 4 p.m. with a shoelace. Guards saw him and rushed in to prevent him from following through, he said.

Ray was brought into the detention on Friday or Saturday, Evans said. He said he was awaiting trial on burglary and destruction of property charges.


Like other inmates who try to kill themselves, Ray will be placed on suicide watch, Evans said. He will also visit with a mental health professional.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department made a number of changes in late 1995 after three inmates committed suicide that year. Ventilation grills were covered with another layer of metal, making it harder for inmates to tie sheets to the grill.

The department also stepped up counseling for inmates and increased training for staff.

Evans said the detention center has had few suicide attempts during the last 18 months.

"That has ceased and now we don't have too many problems," he said.

Woman charged with possession

A Henderson, Md., woman was arrested Monday after she allegedly tried to smuggle drugs into the Maryland Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown, Maryland State Police said.

Denise Lynn Wallis, 23, of Melville Road, was charged with possession of cocaine, police said.

According to police, Wallis was detained by prison officials at about 2:30 p.m. after correctional officials discovered a balloon filled with white powder in her pants pocket, police said.

Wallis had entered the visitors center to visit an inmate, police said. The balloon contained a capsule of suspected powder cocaine, police said.

Accident slows Wesel Blvd. traffic

An early afternoon traffic accident Monday temporarily closed a lane in each direction on Wesel Boulevard.

A Hagerstown man attempting to cross Wesel Boulevard near Applebee's Restaurant around 12:25 p.m. was struck by a car heading toward Burhans Boulevard, said Patrolman Clifton Briggs.

Richard Weddle, 71, of 19031 Poffenberger Road, was charged with failure to stop and yield at a through highway, Briggs said.

Weddle was treated at Washington County Hospital Monday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Weddle's wife, Joan Weddle, a passenger in the Ford minivan, was treated and released, Briggs said.

The driver of the Eagle Vision car suffered a broken ankle, Briggs said.

Mary Hovis, 31, of Smithsburg, was treated at the hospital and released, officials said.

The Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, Md., Inc., Community Rescue Service and Hagerstown Fire Department responded.

Market robbed, burglars still on run

CLEAR SPRING - A tenant confronted and then chased two burglary suspects he caught coming out of Ernst's Market early Monday morning, causing them to drop their loot.

Washington County sheriff's deputies were called to the scene at 2 a.m. Monday after the tenant lost the two men going west on Big Pool Road.

The tenant, one of two who live over the market on Dam No. 5 Road, told deputies he was awakened by a loud noise from the store below.

When the tenant walked outside, he saw two men coming out of a broken window in the store. They were carrying a large trash bag, later found to contain cigarettes and other items valued at $700.

The thieves dropped the bag when the tenant approached. The thieves had a knife and a golf club as weapons, but the tenant began to chase them anyway, deputies said.

A search by a Washington County K-9 unit and a Maryland State Police helicopter turned up nothing. Police believe a car was waiting nearby.

Anyone with information can call 301-791-3020. Deputy Rob Whittington is the lead investigator.

2 juveniles charged with assault

Two juveniles have been charged with first-degree assault after a counselor at Cedar Ridge Children's Home was beaten Sunday.

The boys walked away from the facility for troubled youths early Saturday, according to Washington County sheriff's deputies.

They returned in the afternoon and attacked a counselor, deputies said.

The counselor didn't require hospitalization, deputies said.

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