Balt. Co. State’s Attorney refuses to comply with PIA request regarding fatal car crash report
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 10th July 2019
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Baltimore County SA Scott Shellenberger refused to respond to an MPIA request filed by the Post regarding a suspect in a fatal car crash. (Photo credit/WBAL)

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger has refused to provide information in response to a Public Information Request filed by The Baltimore Post. The Post requested information regarding a deadly car crash that occurred on February 2, 2019, in the Garrison area of Baltimore County.

So much for transparency in government, folks.

The Post initially reported on the crash after our suspicions were raised due to the lack of information provided by the Maryland State Police about the suspect.

The crash killed Kennedy Sookal, who was changing a tire on his truck next to the southbound lanes of I-795 near McDonogh Road. At the time, the state police issued a news release that stated two vehicles were involved in an apparent speed contest when one of them ran off the road striking Mr. Sookal, who was later pronounced dead at the Siani Trauma Center.

One vehicle involved in the speed contest–the one that struck and killed Mr. Sookal–ran off the roadway and struck an embankment. The other vehicle fled the scene. The state police news release also said the driver of the car that struck Mr. Sookal, Carlos Daniel Gonzales-Rabines of Windsor Mill, was arrested at the scene and transported back to the MSP Golden Ring Barracks; he was later released.

The Post became suspicious when we attempted to determine if Mr. Gonzales-Rabines had any previous traffic violations. The Maryland Judiciary Case Search revealed no information regarding Mr. Gonzales-Rabines. Our attempts to locate any information on the suspect proved to be in vain.

There was also a complete lack of information coming from the state police regarding the crash.

We asked the state police if anyone bothered to check Mr. Gonzales-Rabines’ immigration status before he was released. We believe that, given the severe nature of his potential crime, there would be a distinct possibility of the suspect becoming a flight risk before the State’s Attorney officially brought charges in the case.

As the issue of “illegal immigration,” becomes a dominant theme in the political arena, along with the fact that Baltimore County gives haven to illegals this matter had to be addressed so that the citizens of this county be protected from potentially more crimes of similar nature.

After all, if an undocumented (illegal) immigrant commits a crime, how can law enforcement track down and arrest a shadow?

When we continually attempted to get information on the suspect’s immigration status, we were met with a series of “no comment” replies. We were diligent, folks–between February 16 and  June 18, we made at least 10 phone calls to the state police.

Finally, on June 18, 2019, the Post filed a Public Information Act request after being told multiple times that “the investigation is still not complete.” Within several days of submitting our MPIA request, we received a letter from the state police that the investigation was finally completed and forwarded to the Baltimore County SA’s office for review.

We asked State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger if charges would be filed against Mr. Gonzales-Rabines. We received the following reply:

The fatal car crash on I-795 and McDonogh Road is under review by the State’s Attorney’s Office.  The MSP report cannot be released while the review takes place.

Scott Shellenberger

State’s Attorney

This was in direct contrast to the letter received by the state police advising that the processing of our MPIA request was in progress.

The Baltimore Post strongly believes that the citizens should be aware of how law enforcement is handling such potential criminal activity, especially when it involves a fatality. It is our opinion that this is not acceptable conduct for Mr. Shellenberger, who took an oath to perform his duties as the county’s top law enforcement official.

There is one other aspect to this horrible story–who was driving the second vehicle in complete disregard for highway safety. After all, that person is just as guilty for Mr. Sookal’s death, but there has been no second arrest made.

It seems not much has changed since  Mr. Smith donated $435,000 to Mr. Shellenberger’s campaign coffers. (Hence our featured photo.)

We attempted to contact Mr. Shellenberger again before the publication of this article, but there was no response.

Folks, we don’t believe it is out of line to request transparency and accountability from our elected officials, especially those in charge of upholding the laws and seeking justice for the citizens of Baltimore County. Unfortunately, our public officials would prefer to uphold the “rights” of potentially non-citizens instead.