North Point Road and North Point Boulevard have been settings for major pedestrian and traffic hazards, prompting Del. Ric Metzgar, R-6, and officials from the Maryland Department of Transportation to get involved.
Residents live along both roads. Businesses, including gas station convenience stores and restaurants, are also located along these roads. North Point Road’s lack of sidewalks present a grave danger to pedestrians either trying to cross or walk alongside the road.
North Point Road has been the setting for many recent traffic accidents, both car-on-car and car-on-pedestrian. The most recent accident, according to the Baltimore County Police Department, happened on Jan. 1. A BCPD patrol vehicle swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle making a left turn before crashing into a telephone pole. Before that, an accident was on Dec. 10, at the intersection of Sparrows Point and North Point Roads.
The accident was fatal, resulting in the death of Leo George Zimmerman III, 28, of Edgemere. Zimmerman was traveling in his 2004 Chevrolet Silverado when it failed to stop at a red light at the intersection. Zimmerman hit a 2017 Nissan Altima in the intersection. The impact caused the pickup truck to go off the road before impacting with a residence. The other driver was not injured.
On Dec. 1, a wheelchair-bound pedestrian was fatally struck in a crosswalk, at the intersection of North Point and Lodge Farm Roads, in a hit-and-run. According to police, a GMC Sonoma was traveling northbound on North Point Road when it struck the man as he was in a wheelchair attempting to cross in a marked crosswalk. The driver of the GMC did not stop and continued northbound on North Point Road.
The pedestrian, Joseph Stefan, 69, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, Nicklos Koltko, 45, from Severna Park in Anne Arundel County, was later found and placed under arrest.
Shirley Caslan is an Edgemere resident who lives just off of North Point Road. She often crosses the busy route on foot for shopping trips, both for herself and her older adult neighbors. She told the Eagle she knew Stefan.
“Sometimes you just don’t stand a chance coming across here,” Caslan said while pointing at North Point Road. “It’s the cars. Some of them don’t slow down. Some are inconsiderate. And there are no sidewalks here, as well.”
Caslan said she sometimes makes trips to the Dollar General located on the 6800 Block of North Point Road. She said there are no sidewalks along her route.
“I’ve had them so close to me I’ve literally had to jump back,” Caslan said. “To get to a bus stop I have to [walk along North Point Road]. That’s another problem around here.”
“There’s no buses to get to one. You literally have to walk or catch a cab.”
Metzgar and North Point Peninsula Council president Fran Taylor met with state officials from the Maryland Department of Transportation on Jan. 11. The areas of concern were at two locations – North Point Road at the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Department, and the 7-11 at 5230 North Point Boulevard. The NPPC held a virtual meeting on Jan. 7, where Metzgar announced the walkthrough of both areas. That meeting can be found on the NPPC Facebook™ page.
Taylor said commuter safety in Edgemere has been a concern for him since 1963, when he read an article in a school newspaper that advocated for placing sidewalks in the community. He has been actively involved with highlighting the need for sidewalks since 2003. He currently is the president of the North Point Peninsula Council.
Taylor said Edgemere has a streetscape that was designed in 2010. It begins at the Edgemere Senior Center (6600 North Point Rd.) and runs south to Willow Road, near Shaw’s Discover. Taylor said that for Edgemere residents who live on North Point Road, there is only one way in and one way out. Both ends of the road connect to North Point Boulevard.
Caslan said part of her route runs past Sparrows Point Middle and High Schools. The building has a sidewalk in front of it, but only stretches beyond both sides. Caslan said she is on the side of the road once she passes the school.
“For someone in a wheelchair, it’s dangerous,” Caslan said.
Metzgar said the situation has been a concern for him for “several years now.” Jan. 11 was the first time he was able to have state officials visit the community, he said.
“I can tell you that I have been watching it for six years, since I’ve been in office,” Metzgar said. “I realized just today, when I was coming into the 7-11 [on North Point Boulevard], the passway is not safe. It’s dangerous right there.”
Metzgar said a major concern he hears from constituents that live in Edgemere is the noise factor. Tractor trailers travel both ways on North Point Boulevard during all hours of the day and night, he said. The noise concern has been brought up in community and county meetings in the past.
Metzgar said he has spoken with business owners on North Point Boulevard at and near the problem area. Business owners share concerns of tractor trailers hitting their businesses. Traffic safety and noise safety are his two biggest concerns in the area, he said.
“We have to get safety barriers up,” he said. “We have to get these turning lanes corrected. We have to get sound barriers, and we have to figure out a way to get this traffic under control.”
Taylor said the issue behind correcting these issues is funding. Taylor said he had a proposed streetscape that he presented to Baltimore County in the past. He was told those plans went against current standards.
“I do have to say that the County has made safety along that business stretch a priority,” Taylor said. “I’m very confident that they will come back with something to the community. Maybe not shortly, but we’re going to be hearing something.”
Taylor said Pete Kriscumus, Director of Community Engagement for Baltimore County, is spearheading this project. The Eagle did not contact Kriscumus before this newspaper went to press. Updated comments from Kriscumus are expected in the Jan. 21 issue.
Taylor said that a wide range of Edgemere residents met virtually with Kriscumus on Dec. 22, including members of the North Point Peninsula Council, St. Luke’s Catholic Church. St. Luke’s Place and the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Company. Taylor said County officials have visited the problem areas on these two roads on two different occasions in recent months.
Taylor said he remains in contact with Kriscumus regarding traffic safety. Kriscumus is waiting on Baltimore County to have something concrete before returning to the community, Taylor said.
Caslan said she hopes something can be done soon. Caslan was crossing the street near the North Point Edgemere Volunteer Fire Company when she saw Metzgar, Taylor and state officials from the Maryland Department of Transportation. She shared her hope with the Eagle that something can be done soon.
“In society today, we have to take care of the [older adults],” Caslan said. “Some of them are veterans who served their country.”
“I’m 56, so I’m still in some shape. I do what I can [for her neighbors]. Some of these [older adults] don’t have family.”
The Eagle will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates when they become available.
Cody Mulligan, a Rosedale resident and Sparrows Point High graduate, died on Friday as a result of injuries he suffered during a knife attack on Jan. 2. He was 21.
Mulligan, who was blind, made news while a student at Sparrows Point for wrestling on the Pointer junior varsity team and for participating in target shooting.
“Cody was such an inspiration to the team during his time here,” Sparrows Point wrestling coach Mike Whisner said. “He was positive and did not let anything stand in his way. He always acted like he was one of the guys and nothing was different about him.”
“I can still see him and Mitch Hammond running the halls during practice. He will be missed.”
Cody was attacked by a neighbor after leaving his home in the 1000 block of Sumter Avenue shortly after 4 p.m. on Jan. 2.
According to a police report, Baltimore County officers responded to the call of a “stabbing.” When they arrived, they found a crowd of people pointed at the suspect, identified as James Marchsteiner, 47, also of the 1000 block of Sumter Avenue.
Marchsteiner reportedly told the officers he was responsible for the stabbing.
While two Maryland State Police troopers rendered aid to Cody, the county police placed Marchsteiner under arrest.
Emergency personnel took Cody to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. According to the police report, Cody went into full arrest during the drive but was revived by a paramedic.
Cody had just earned his personal trainer license, according to his neighbor and former wrestling coach Ron Wagener.
“Cody excelled at everything he did,” said Wagener, who coached Mulligan at Golden Ring wrestling. “He was a pretty easy kid to teach. It was amazing how fast a person who is blind can learn wrestling.
Wagener said he would use Cody as the wrestler he demonstrated moves on.
“You showed him a move one time, he knew it,” Wagener said. “He picked everything up so fast.”
In addition to wrestling, target shooting and becoming a personal trainer, Cody was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol and helped his stepfather, Jay, with his electrician business.
“This young man had an endless list of accomplishments,” Wagener said. “You practically had to remind Cody he had a disability. I’d watch him take out the garbage, ride his bike in the street, play football with my son and his friends ... see him do everything a sighted person could do.”
(Cody had the road memorized while riding his bike, and could tell the texture of the road to use it as a landmark.)
When Ron thanked his son, Ryan, for letting Cody play football with him, Ryan told him Cody played quarterback.
“He said they just called Cody’s name, and he’d throw them the ball,” Ron said.
Cody’s sense of touch was so keen he could help his stepfather run wiring, and his sense of smell so sharp he could identify his sister (from her perfume) when she entered the house.
“It was just impressive to watch this boy grow and overcome so much,” Wagener said.
On the day Cody was attacked, his cousin told police he had arrived at the address to pick up Cody and saw the suspect walking his dog along Sumter Avenue.
The cousin told police Marchsteiner began yelling at him, then ran towards he and Cody while reportedly brandishing the knife in a threatening manner.
The suspect then began to reportedly stab Cody multiple times.
Another witness, a neighbor, told police she heard yelling and a dog barking, and when she looked out her window she saw the suspect grabbing Cody and appeared to be punching him.
She realized later Mulligan had been stabbed.
According to the police report, the knife allegedly used in the attack was retrieved from the suspect’s mother.
Marchsteiner’s mother told police he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and he had been in the house talking about God and his “Senders” before telling her he was going outside to walk his dog.
She told police she then heard screaming and saw Cody’s relatives attempting to pull her son away from him.
After arriving at the scene, she asked her son to give her the knife he was holding, and he complied.
Video surveillance footage retrieved from a camera at the scene shows Marchsteiner walking with a dog near Cody’s address; Cody leaving his home; his cousin exiting his vehicle and yelling for Cody to go back in the house; Marchsteiner running towards Cody and immediately stabbing him in the center chest area; Cody trying to get away; and Marchsteiner stabbing him three more times before family members arrived and Marchsteiner retreated.
Mulligan suffered a total of five stab wounds, including one to the heart and lungs.