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Man pleads guilty to lesser charges

ordered to pay fines

December 14, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

A Smithsburg man avoided more serious criminal charges by accepting a plea bargain in Washington County Circuit Court Tuesday.

Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III ordered Douglas Lee Pryor to pay $195 in court costs and $490 in fines. He also gave him a lecture for his behavior in the Aug. 4 incident in which he cursed at a Smithsburg police officer.

"You were stone-cold sober when you were mouthing off in Smithsburg like that, weren't you?" he said. "I don't care if it's an illegal arrest, this court does not condone mouthing off to people of authority."

Pryor, 21, pleaded guilty to speeding, failure to wear a seat belt and failure to obey a police officer. In exchange, charges of resisting arrest and attempting to flee and elude were dropped.

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Officer Michael Neuland recorded Pryor driving 48 mph in a 30 mph zone on East Water Street, according to charging documents read by Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joseph Michael.

Neuland noticed when he flagged down the car that the driver was not wearing a seat belt, Michael said.

The driver became angry at the officer and began hurling expletives at him, Michael said. When Neuland returned to his cruiser to process the ticket, Pryor said he did not have time and said, "Catch you later," Michael said.

Pryor then drove away.

Michael said Neuland chased Pryor down at West Water Street.

"Suffice it to say that there is bad blood between Mr. Pryor and the new officer in town," Michael said. "He did not act appropriately in the face of an officer who was trying to do his job."

Defense attorney John Salvatore told Boone his client had overreacted.

"This has been a learning experience for Doug Pryor," he said. "It's cost him a lot of money. It cost him a lot of agony He's paid the penalty."

Pryor said he has matured since the incident.

"I'm just sorry it happened," he said.

Boone said Pryor could have gotten worse than a fine when he drove away.

"Quite frankly, you're lucky you didn't get beat over the head," he said. "I hope you did learn from this experience."

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