SUV rollover on I-495 results in DUI for driver

By Jim Hilgen 8:47am, May 3, 2015 - Updated 9:37am, May 3, 2015
A motorist who flipped his SUV on Interstate 495 at Exit 1 is charged with driving under the influence, police said.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. Saturday, police said 29-year-old Sargbah Roberts lost control of his SUV while traveling northbound on I-495 at DuPont Highway.

County paramedics were called to the scene to free Roberts from the car and treat his injuries.

Delaware State Police are charging the Wilmington man with numerous motor vehicle violations, including DUI.

Roberts was taken to Christiana Hospital for treatment of his injuries.


Armed man shot and killed by Smyrna police identified

By Amy Cherry 9:47am, May 2, 2015 - Updated 9:37am, May 3, 2015
Smyrna Police identify the armed man shot and killed by an officer, responding to a domestic dispute Friday night.



The shooting victim has been identified as 52-year-old Kenneth Mathena of Smyrna.

The officer-involved shooting happened at building #30 on Malvern Lane in Smyrna's Sunnyside Village Development at 11:23 p.m.

Police were called to the apartment after a woman said her boyfriend, Mathena was armed with a gun. By the time police arrived, he had fled. After midnight, police said Mathena returned and tried to force entry into the unit, where his girlfriend and another man were inside.

Police observed the Smyrna man with a shotgun, gave him a verbal command to drop it, and when he refused to comply, a Smyrna Police officer fired at him.

Officers rendered medical treatment until Mathena was taken to the Bayhealth Smyrna Emergency Room, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said the officer who fired the shot is an 11-year veteran of the force and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Smyrna Police are being assisted by Dover Police and the Delaware Attorney General's office in their investigation.

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Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.


Odessa crash hospitalizes Wilmington man

By Frank Gerace 8:44pm, May 3, 2015
A Wilmington man was hospitalized after the construction van he was driving hit a utility pole in Odessa.

State Police said 68-year-old John Matthews was driving the van southbound on Route 13 near High Street when he apparently had a medical problem which made him lose control of the vehicle.

The van ran off the road and hit a Delmarva Power pole, downing several other poles and electrical lines.

Matthews was flown by State Police helicopter to Christiana Hospital.

At last check, Route 13 southbound was still closed at the scene, and traffic was being diverted to Marl Pit Road and Route 299.


Gold Alert out for missing Sussex woman

By Frank Gerace 5:37pm, May 3, 2015
Yolanda Bouyer-Bello
State Police issued a Gold Alert for a missing Sussex County woman.

Police said 30-year-old Yolanda Bouyer-Bello was last seen at her home at 1160 School Street in Houston Saturday.

Troopers haven't been able to contact Bouyer-Bello to make sure she's OK, and they were concerned for her safety.

Bouyer-Bello is black, 5-6 and 235 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, and was wearing a red shirt and blue jeans--police think she may be in the Houston area.

Anyone who may know where Bouyer-Bello is can call Troop 3 or go to tipsubmit.com.

Information can also be provided to the Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, or you can send an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."


Fire destroys historic Bancroft Mill in Wilmington

By Frank Gerace 10:02am, May 2, 2015 - Updated 11:33am, May 2, 2015
Fire guts an abandoned old mill owned by DNREC. (Photo/New Castle County)
Fire destroys parts of an historic and abandoned old textile mill in Wilmington that's owned by the state.

The two-alarm fire broke out in a wooden building at the Bancroft Mills site along Brandywine Creek around 1 a.m. Wilmington firefighters arrived first on-scene to find heavy flames coming from the three-story mill.

A tanker task force with equipment and crews from the Delaware Air National Guard and civilian companies in Chester and Delaware Counties in Pennsylvania helped battle the fire, which was under control around 5:30 a.m. Firefighters expect to be on scene for several more hours. No one was injured combating the fire.

Bancroft Mills, destroyed by fire, was on the Register of Historic Places. (Photo/New Castle County)

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The Delaware Department of Natural Resources, which owned the building, said fire is considered "suspicious." DNREC's Division of State Parks Enforcement said access to Alapocas Run Park, rock climbing, and other recreational activities may be limited as investigators work to determine the cause of the fire.

Bancroft Mills was opened in 1831 by English immigrant Joseph Bancroft on the site of the Gilpin Paper Mill, which opened in 1787; the complex closed in 1961 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Man dead, woman critical after motorcycle/car crash

By Frank Gerace 8:36pm, May 3, 2015
A man was killed and a woman critically injured after the motorcycle they were riding rear-ended a car Sunday morning.

State Police said John Jakobowski of Lewes was northbound on the Twin Bridges near Frederica shortly before noon when his motorcycle hit the rear bumper of a car that was slowing down for traffic.

Jakobowski and his passenger, Mary Ann Snyder of Milton, were thrown off the bike toward the west side of the road.

Jakobowski was taken to Milford Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead; Snyder was flown to Kent General Hospital and then to Christiana Hospital, where she was in critical but stable condition.

Route 113 was closed in both directions at the scene for about 4 hours after the crash.


Harrington woman hospitalized in Frederica crash

By Frank Gerace 7:32pm, May 3, 2015
A Harrington woman was hurt in a crash involving her car and a tractor-trailer near Frederica.

State Police said the big rig was slowing down near the scene of an accident on Route 1 near Barratt's Chapel Road around 3:25 Sunday afternoon when the car rear-ended the truck.

The driver of the car, who police say had bent down to pick up a cigarette, was taken to Milford Memorial Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The tractor-trailer driver wasn't hurt.

Route 1 was closed at the scene for about 2 hours after the crash--at the same time, Route 113 was shut down in both directions as troopers investigated another accident.


Troopers ID Seaford man killed in Georgetown crash

By Jim Hilgen/Frank Gerace 6:10pm, May 3, 2015
State Police have identified a 42 year-old Seaford man killed in a Saturday afternoon crash near Georgetown.

State Police said Michael McIntire lost control of his Dodge Dakota while traveling westbound on County Seat Highway near Old Furnace Road.

The truck struck several signs and other objects as it left the roadway,

McIntire was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.


Defense seeks to limit evidence in Matusiewicz case

By Associated Press 10:09am, May 2, 2015
The son of a man who killed his former daughter-in-law and another woman at the New Castle County Courthouse is seeking to limit evidence in his upcoming trial on federal cyberstalking charges.

Prosecutors allege that David Matusiewicz and his family conspired for years to torment and stalk his ex-wife, Christine Belford, before she and a friend were killed by his father, Thomas, in 2013.

Thomas Matusiewicz's widow and children deny any knowledge that he planned to kill Bedford.

David Matusiewicz's public defenders filed motions Friday to prohibit prosecutors from submitting evidence they say is irrelevant and would inflame or confuse the jury. That includes courthouse surveillance tapes, Belford's prior statements that she feared her ex-husband, and a document, which prosecutors assert is a hit list, that was found in Thomas Matusiewicz's car.


Experts: Convictions will be tough to win in Baltimore case

By Associated Press 9:47am, May 3, 2015
(AP Photo)
Baltimore's top prosecutor acted swiftly in charging six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a grave spinal injury as he was arrested and put into a police transport van, handcuffed and without a seat belt.

But getting a jury to convict police officers of murder and manslaughter will be far harder than obtaining arrest warrants.

Legal experts say the case is fraught with challenges. A widely shown video that captured the nation's attention shows Gray, 25, being loaded into the van, but not what happened once he was inside. Other than the accused officers, the only known witness is a convicted criminal later placed in the van's other holding cell, unable to see what was happening with Gray.

State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced the charges Friday amid a backdrop of a city in turmoil - four days after public anger over Gray's death triggered riots, with heavily armed troops enforcing a nightly curfew, and the day before protest marches that drew thousands.

By bringing charges less than two weeks after Gray's death, Mosby, 35, said her decision showed "no one is above the law."

"To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for, `No justice, no peace,"' the prosecutor said. "Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man."

Within hours, the city's police union questioned the prosecutor's impartiality, accusing her of a rush to judgment and demanding she recuse herself from the case.

Even some of those who support Mosby's stand worry further violence might erupt if she fails to win convictions.

Alan Dershowitz, a well-known criminal lawyer from New York and professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, suggested that Mosby's actions were motivated more by political expediency and short-term public safety than strong evidence. He called the charges "outrageous and irresponsible," especially a second-degree murder count filed against the van's driver under a legal principle known as "depraved heart."

"The decision to file charges was made not based on considerations of justice, but on considerations of crowd control," Dershowitz said Saturday.

A call Saturday to Mosby's spokeswoman for comment was not answered, and her voicemail box was not accepting messages.

Regardless of the motivation, the announcement of the charges immediately shifted the prevailing mood on the city's streets from one of rage to relief.

To win a conviction, city prosecutors will have to convince a jury that van driver Caesar Goodson acted so recklessly that he knew his actions could take Gray's life. The classic example often taught in law schools is that a person who drops a flower pot off the balcony of a skyscraper onto a busy sidewalk below, or someone who fires a gun into a crowded bus.

"That's really the sort of shocking charge," said Andrew Alperstein, a Baltimore defense attorney and former prosecutor.

Across the nation, it is very rare for law enforcement officers to be charged following fatal encounters with suspects, much less convicted by jurors often predisposed to give extra weight and credibility to the accounts provided by police.

Mosby's speediness in ordering the officers' arrests stands in stark contrast to the slow pace of the investigations that resulted in no criminal charges against the officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Fergusson, Missouri, or Eric Garner in New York City. Mosby also does not have the benefit of a video capturing a decisive moment where lethal force was used, such as a video showing a North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer shooting a fleeing Walter Scott multiple times in the back. Despite initial claims by authorities that the shooting was in self-defense, the officer was quickly charged with murder after the video was provided to the media.

In the Gray case, the video evidence is much murkier, with no visual evidence the officers purposely hurt him. Expert witnesses are likely to disagree on whether Gray was seriously injured when the officers pinned him to the sidewalk and cuffed his hands behind his back. Gray was recorded being hefted toward the waiting van, his feet dragging along the ground.

In her statement of facts, Mosby alleged the officers later also bound Gray's feet together and placed him in the van face-down, rather than buckling him into a seat belt, as required by departmental procedures. That would have left Gray unable to brace himself as he slid around on the floor during the van's travel through Baltimore. She also recounted the multiple stops made by the van, even after it likely became clear Gray was in distress. Nearly an hour passed before Gray received medical attention.

However, the prosecutor steered clear of specifically alleging Goodson took Gray on a "rough ride," a term commonly applied in Baltimore to a practice of the driver making quick stops and sharp turns so as to slam the prisoner around in the back of the van.

Glenn Ivey, a defense attorney and the former chief prosecutor in Prince George's County, Maryland, said Mosby's prosecution would likely be considered successful if she were to secure any felony conviction against the officers that results in lengthy terms in prison. Second-degree assault carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

"Typically in police cases, if you get a conviction on almost any of the charges, it's viewed as successful, because police cases are hard to win," he said.

Even in Baltimore, where juries tend to be skeptical of police officers, they can still make compelling defendants and persuasive witnesses, said Ivey, who is currently a candidate for Congress in Maryland's Washington suburbs.

During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ivey secured a 45-year sentence against a county homeland security official and former police officer in the shooting of two furniture deliverymen at his home, a rare case in which a law enforcement officer was charged with murder. Keith Washington was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Andrew Levy, a longtime Baltimore defense attorney and adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, said lawyers could argue that their individual clients cannot be held responsible for Gray's death.

"If you dissect this from the initial pursuit to the initial detention to the arrest to the transfer to the vehicle, that's a pretty complicated timeline, and I think we're going to hear lots of defense from individuals basically that will distill down to, `It wasn't my job. I was just following orders,"' Levy said. "Those are not frivolous defenses in a context like this. Not everybody is necessarily responsible for everything."

Defense attorneys for the officers will likely use Mosby's public statements about the case against her in requests that the venue for the trial be moved outside of Baltimore. Though such changes of venue are relatively rare, there have been several examples of such motions being granted in cases that have garnered intense media coverage or where local officials are deemed to have made public statements that could unfairly influence potential jurors.

An example where that happened was the prosecution of the police officers acquitted in the 1991 video-taped beating of Rodney King. The trial was moved from Los Angeles to a much-less racially diverse suburb, where a jury acquitted the lawmen - triggering violent riots that left wide swaths of the city smoldering.

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Follow Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker at http://Twitter.com/mbieseck

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Follow Associated Press writer Ben Nuckols at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols



AP-WF 5/3/2015 00:11


Baltimore unrest puts spotlight on O'Malley's stint as mayor

By Associated Press 9:47am, May 3, 2015
Ex-Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (WDEL/file)
Martin O'Malley often casts Baltimore as a comeback city that recovered from the ravages of drugs and violence during his years as mayor.

Now, weeks before the former Maryland governor expects to enter the 2016 presidential race and challenge fellow Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, Baltimore's turnaround has been marred by rioting.

That's placed scrutiny on O'Malley's "zero tolerance" law enforcement policies as mayor from 1999 to 2006.

The record showed that murders and violent crime overall declined under O'Malley.

But it also was when a grand jury concluded that too many arrests were being made in Baltimore's black neighborhoods without merit.

And it's when the city settled a lawsuit from people who said they were wrongly arrested for minor offences - the sort of concerns driving anger in Baltimore today.


Bird flu virus raises questions scientists working to answer

By Associated Press 9:47am, May 3, 2015
(AP Photo/File)
It's been five months since the H5N2 bird flu virus was discovered in the U.S., and producers have lost more than 21 million birds in the Midwest alone.

Yet, researchers with federal agencies acknowledge they still know little about the virus' origin and how it spreads, especially with heightened biosecurity measures at commercial poultry farms and the apparent lack of widespread deaths in largely unprotected backyard flocks.

A leader with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not much is known about the virus because it only surfaced in the U.S. in early December.

Unanswered questions include how exactly the virus finds its way into sheltered commercial chicken and turkey flocks and if wild birds spread the virus why more backyard flocks haven't died.


AAA: Higher crude prices partly to blame for gas price spike

By Frank Gerace 6:45pm, May 3, 2015
For the first time in 4 months, it cost you than 2.50 a gallon for gas, and Triple-A Mid-Atlantic says the blame fell, in part, on rising crude oil prices.

The auto club Sunday released its Weekend Gas Watch, which showed prices at the pump rose 17 cents in the last 2 weeks to a national average of 2.62 a gallon.

That's 9 cents higher than last week and 19 cents higher than last month, but prices were still down by 1.09 compared to this time last year.

Triple-A says higher world crude oil prices, the switch to summer-blend gas, and problems at regional refineries are why it's costing you so much more to fill your tank right now--they said prices may go back down after refineries complete seasonal maintenance and finish the summer-blend gas switch, but a lot depends on what happens in the global crude oil market.

Around the region, Sunday's average per-gallon gas prices were 2.60 in Delaware, 2.77 in Pennsylvania and 2.46 in South Jersey.


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