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New Jersey Man Charged with Negligent Operation in Connection with Fatal Boating Accident

The driver of a pontoon boat involved in a fatal accident in Ocean City last summer has been charged with negligent operation.

A criminal summons was issued Friday for Dustin Daniel Healey, 26, of Freehold, New Jersey, after a Worcester County District Court Commissioner found probable cause for the charge.

Healey was at the controls of the rented pontoon boat in Sinepuxent Bay Aug. 17, when Kadin Frederick, 9, of Howell, New Jersey, slipped from the bow and into the path of the propeller. Despite the effort of good Samaritans and first responders, the boy died from multiple gashes.

Frederick was one of four people sitting in front of the safety railing with his legs dangling above the water – known as bow riding. The activity is illegal in Maryland.

Healey told investigators that he knew passengers were sitting on the bow but could not see Frederick from the boat’s controls and was only alerted to the boy’s fall only when other passengers began screaming.

Healey has been scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Worcester County District Court Feb. 15. The maximum penalty for a first offence is $500.

Last week, five charges were filed against the rental company and its owner.


A Cecil County man faces felony weapons charges and he and a companion were charged with multiple counts of deer poaching in separate incidents.

Jerry Lee Howell, 26, of Conowingo, was arrested Friday and charged with illegal possession of a shotgun and illegal possession of ammunition. He also was charged with hunting during a closed season, having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, hunting while impaired, hunting with a spotlight (jacklighting) and hunting with a prohibited ammunition.

Elena Julia Lazzeri, 25, of Rising Sun, was charged with hunting in a closed season, having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, hunting with a spotlight (jacklighting), hunting with a prohibited ammunition, hunting without a license and hunting without a hunter safety certificate.

Officers were checking waterfowl hunters Friday on the Susquehanna Flats at the mouth of the river when they encountered Howell with a firearm and ammunition, which he was prohibited from possessing based on a 2016  conviction.

During the arrest, officers also charged Howell in connection with a deer poaching incident November and later charged Lazzeri for her role the same incident.

On Nov. 11 shortly after 9:30 p.m., officers responding to complaints of gunfire in Darlington stopped an SUV near the intersection of Shuresville Road and Shures Landing Road that was shining a light into a field.

They found a freshly fired 12-gauge shotgun in the back seat and a spent shell between the passenger seat and the door. Both Lazzeri, the driver, and Howell were released at that time pending further investigation.

Both are scheduled to appear in Harford County District Court Feb. 28. Howell faces up to 60 years in prison and fines of up to $8,000. Lazzeri could be jailed for up to six months and fined as much as $9,700. If convicted, each defendant could lose their hunting license for up to five years.


A Glen Burnie man faces felony weapons charges stemming from an investigation into illegal hunting and trespassing complaints in Harford County.

The case of Vernon John Gnacyk, 62, will be presented in Harford County Circuit Court Feb. 14. He is charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearms, possession of ammunition, trespassing on posted private property and operating an off-road vehicle on private property.

An officer was on foot patrol on Exelon Corp. property in Darlington October to check on reports of illegal hunting. He found a loaded 0.30-0.30 caliber rifle and ammunition inside a piece of PVC pipe hidden in the woods.

The officer placed the utility’s property under surveillance and saw Gnacyk riding an all-terrain vehicle on it. Gnacyk attempted to flee on the all-terrain vehicle and then on foot, but was apprehended.

A police crime lab analysis determined that Gnacyk’s fingerprints matched those found on the rifle. A search of his Glen Burnie home turned up a second rifle. His earlier convictions on assault and burglary charges barred him from having firearms.


A Cambridge man has been charged with 11 violations stemming from illegal oyster harvesting in December.

Todd Hamilton Ruark, 35, was issued citations for: two counts of harvesting oysters with a power dredge in a hand-tong only area; exceeding his daily catch limit by three bushels; harvesting oysters after hours; possessing untagged oysters; four counts of failing to store oysters in the proper containers; selling oysters on the internet without a dealer’s license; and selling oysters without a state health certificate.

Ruark is scheduled to appear in Talbot County District Court March 16. He could be fined $3,525. Ruark must appear in court to answer to the charges of possessing untagged oysters and selling oysters without a state health certificate.


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