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According to the sheriff's office, Coates was driving north on Route 4 near Dunkirk about 4 a.m. June 9. His car hit the guardrail, traveled along the guardrail for about 300 feet and crossed a grass median to the left. The car continued into a culvert, went airborne and struck a brick pillar, tree and animal hospital sign.

The sheriff's office said its investigation has revealed it is "highly probable" the deputy fell asleep and awoke upon striking the guardrail. From there, Coates apparently overcorrected and lost control, according to the sheriff's office investigation. Calvert deputies are permitted to drive their patrol cars while off duty .

-- Dan Morse


Death Leads to Suspension of Police Policy

A week after a Howard police officer was fatally injured during traffic duty, Anne Arundel and Howard county police have temporarily suspended policies that call on their officers to step out of their vehicles and into traffic lanes to catch speeders.

Howard County Cpl. Scott Wheeler suffered serious head injuries June 16 when he was struck while working on a speed enforcement detail on Route 32 near Savage. He was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died.

Investigators said the driver, a 24-year-old Columbia woman, did not see Wheeler. She is cooperating with the investigation.

Anne Arundel will evaluate speed enforcement policies during the 30-day suspension. Howard police said the use of so-called "stop teams" would be halted until a review of the practice is complete.

Despite the suspension of the "step out" policy, Anne Arundel officials said that speeding complaints will continue to be a priority.

-- Associated Press

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