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Citizens on Patrol car in accident on way to get damage estimates

July 13, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

A citizens patrol car was wrecked outside the Hagerstown Police Department Wednesday morning when a group volunteer accelerated while backing up and struck three parked cars, including two detectives' vehicles, city police said.

No one was hurt when Carol Hann of Hagerstown struck the three parked cars about 11 a.m., Capt. Mark Holtzman said.

Holtzman said he does not know what caused Hann to hit the cars.

"Accidents happen, is my comment," Holtzman said.

Hann is one of the founding members of Hagerstown Citizens on Patrol, a group of city and county residents that patrols downtown  streets looking for crime, Holtzman said.

Hann has done a "great service" to the city over the years as part of the patrol, Holtzman said.

Hann, reached Wednesday night, said she does not remember much about the accident but said she believes she might have hit the gas pedal instead of brake pedal while backing the car out of a parking space.

Hann said she remembers the car going around in a circle and thinking to herself: "I got to get this car stopped. There was smoke flying everywhere."

Hann was taking the Chevrolet Caprice to get a repair estimate on it, city police Officer Gerard Kendle said.

About three weeks ago, the car was parked at a Hagerstown Citizens on Patrol building at Fairgrounds Park when vandals dropped a television on it, Holtzman said.

The top of the car caved in when struck by the television, which was dropped from the top of a building about three stories tall, Holtzman said.

The marked vehicle was parked in the Hagerstown Police Department parking lot Tuesday afternoon with damage to its top and sides.

When Hann accelerated while backing up the car, she struck two detectives' cars in the front bumper area, Holtzman said. She then struck a Honda vehicle, which sustained the most damage, he said.

Hann was going "parking-lot speed" when the accident occurred, he said.

Holtzman estimated that the three vehicles struck sustained about $5,000 in total damage.

Kendle said he believes the cars used by the patrol are retired police cruisers.

The car that was damaged was donated by Community Rescue Service, and is one of five used by the patrol, Kendle said.

The patrol group owns the cars and has their own insurance on them, he said. He didn't know if the patrol organization would get any money to replace the wrecked car.

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