Driver Who Struck Amish Buggies is a Corrections Officer

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Nov. 13, 2008) — The driver of a minivan that collided with two bicyclists who in turn hit two Amish horse and buggy rigs last month in Leonardtown is a corrections officer with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron confirmed Tuesday.

The officer, Benjamin Allen, 19, is still employed with the agency, Cameron said, while the investigation into the crash is continuing.

“We’re handling it the way we would any investigation,” Cameron said. “He wasn’t driving an agency vehicle, he wasn’t even on the clock.”

The collision occurred Oct. 26 and according to police reports Allen collided with the bicyclists riding behind the two Amish horse and buggy rigs as they were stopped for the light at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Point Lookout Road.

Both buggies were trailing canoes at the time of the accident, police reports stated.

The two cyclists, who were 17-year-old juveniles, male and female, of Leonardtown and Mechanicsville, then struck one of the horse and buggy rigs, police reports stated.

Allen, along with the juvenile cyclists, were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment. Both he and the female were released but the male was taken to Washington Hospital Center for further care.

The drivers and passengers of the two buggies were unscathed, police said.

Cameron said that the correctional officer’s career could be affected if any charges are brought against him resulting from the investigation.

“We’ll treat this with emphasis and priority,” Cameron said.

The accident was the subject of questions from at least one Leonardtown town council member at the Nov. 10 meeting.

Mayor J. Harry Norris said that when the town deputy Steve Simonds was questioned about the accident, the deputy said he had few details on regarding it.

“It surprised me, too,” Norris said. “I would expect that a deputy assigned to the town would know about such a serious accident.

“He guaranteed me he’d look into it and get back to me.”

Norris said that the Amish often bring canoes into town to take to Tudor Hall Farm to go boating.

“They’ve always used the Macintosh Run for recreation,” Norris said.

Corrections Officer Indicted For Insurance Fraud

A corrections officer at the St. Lawrence County Jail has been named in a five count indictment charging him with insurance fraud and grand larceny.

A grand jury indicted 63 year old Bernard Debien Jr. on the following charges:

– third-degree grand larceny
– two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing
– two counts of third-degree insurance fraud.

Debien allegedly failed to notify the county that he and his wife, Maxine, divorced resulting in the county expending more than $62,000 in medical expenses on behalf of his ex-wife.

Prosecutors say Debien stole more than $3,000 through insurance coverage.

Had Debien disclosed the divorce, the medical coverage would have continued with Debien paying $8,600 in COBRA health insurance premiums.

Debien is also alleged to have filed a Health and Life Insurance enrollment form with the county with false statements and information.

He also is alleged to have filed a MetLife Insurance Claim Form requesting life insurance benefits as a result of his ex-wife’s death.

Debien has worked at the county jail since September 1990.

Sheriff Kevin Wells tells 7 News that “It’s a personnel matter and we will deal with it within the Sheriff’s Office. It is not connected to his job performance.


Arizona corrections officer indicted in ’04 killing of wife

coA Minnesota grand jury indicted an Arizona corrections officer on Monday on charges of first- and second-degree murder.

34 Year Old Andrew Lemcke is accused in the 2004 shooting death of his wife.

The Web site for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Florence, Ariz., says he was arrested on Sunday.

Other court records say Lemcke had been living in recent years in Florence, where he had worked at a Corrections Corporation of America facility.

Nichole Riley-Lemcke was shot Sept. 12, 2004 at her Appleton, Minn., home.

Andrew Lemcke has described the shooting as accidental.

Riley-Lemcke’s parents had been pressing authorities to file criminal charges, and they filed a wrongful death suit against Lemcke him last year.


Corrections worker accused of romance with an inmate

A 57-year-old woman who had worked as an education coordinator for the state Department of Corrections pleaded not guilty Monday to one count of first-degree official misconduct following an investigation into her alleged relationship with an inmate.

Sharon Lee Simovic was arrested on a warrant Friday and arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Monday.

Findings of an investigation allege that Simovic, who had worked under contract with the state at the Columbia River Correctional Institution, became involved with an inmate, Joshua Dennison, 32, who had served as her clerk in the prison. Simovic helped inmates put together a course plan towards obtaining their high school graduate equivalency diplomas.

Investigators said they found love letters Simovic wrote to Dennison. An indictment accuses Simovic of using her official position from Jan. 1, 2007, through Oct. 19, 2007, to obtain a benefit: “The love and affection” of Dennison. Simovic no longer works for the state.

A trial is scheduled for Sept. 23.


Ex-guard gets Neb. prison term for assaulting girl

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A former guard has been given 20-22 years in a Nebraska prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.


Craig Beckman of Lincoln had pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault. The attacks occurred for more than a year.

On Wednesday, the 44-year-old was sentenced by Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte.

Before sentencing, Beckman told the court that he was sorry he had hurt the girl, her family and his own but that he was not going to ask their forgiveness.

Beckman had been a corrections sergeant at the state prison in Lincoln before resigning when the case against him was filed.


Denton jailer accused of telling inmate he’d go free if he voted for McCain

A Denton city jailer could be punished for telling a detainee on Election Day that he would be released if he voted for John McCain, Denton police authorities said.

Aruto Ntel, 25, who recently became an American citizen, said he was pulled over for speeding about 10 a.m. Nov. 4 as he was going to vote for the first time.

Mr. Ntel was arrested on an outstanding warrant from McKinney for driving without insurance, Denton police Capt. Lenn Carter said.

Mr. Ntel said he was taken to the Denton City Jail, where a jail employee – who was later identified by closed-circuit video as Chris Saunier – dangled a key in front of Mr. Ntel’s face.

“He told me, ‘If you vote for McCain, I’ll let you out right now,’ ” said Mr. Ntel, a senior at Texas Woman’s University. “The officer was laughing, but I didn’t think it was funny. He should have been acting like a professional. He shouldn’t have done that.”

Police Chief Roy Minter and his supervisors will decide in the next week what disciplinary action should be taken against Mr. Saunier, Capt. Carter said.

Mr. Saunier, a nine-year veteran, has been placed on restricted duty and reassigned within the police department, Capt. Carter said.

He was not on duty Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

A friend posted the $187 bail for Mr. Ntel and took him to the voting booth Nov. 4.

Mr. Ntel said he voted for Barack Obama.