Fam­ily re­calls Tawney at vigil

Hit-and-run sus­pect to stand trial next month

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­pub.com

More than 100 friends and fam­ily mem­bers gath­ered in Edge­mere last week for a can­dle­light vigil to re­mem­ber Keith Tawney on the first an­niver­sary of his be­ing struck and killed by a hit-an­drun driver.

Keith, then 23 and a 2011 grad­u­ate of Spar­rows Point High School, was found dead on North Point Boule­vard at Cove Road in the early morn­ing hours of Aug. 23, 2016.

He was re­port­edly walk­ing in the south­bound travel lane of North Point Boule­vard when he was struck by a ve­hi­cle trav­el­ing in that lane. The ve­hi­cle left the scene. Po­lice re­spond­ing to re­ports of a body in the street found Keith, and he was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

“This vigil shows how much he was loved,” said Keith’s mother, Denise Tawney-Co­hill.”How much he’s been missed. It’s a peace­ful re­mem­brance of Keith, who was taken away too soon.”

A sus­pect was ar­rested and charged as the driver of the ve­hi­cle which hit Keith. Daniel E. Lawrence, 30, of the 400 block of River­side Drive is sched­uled to stand trial on Sept. 12 in Baltimore County Cir­cuit Court.

Lawrence is charged with fail­ure to stop his ve­hi­cle at the scene of an ac­ci­dent re­sult­ing in an in­jury; fail­ure to im­me­di­ately re­turn and re­main at the scene of an ac­ci­dent; and fail­ure to stop at the scene of an ac­ci­dent re­sult­ing in a death.

The trial was orig­i­nally post­poned from June 6.

Tawney-Co­hill said she has been ad­vised of two pos­si­ble plea bar­gains, but told pros­e­cu­tors she wanted the case to go to trial. She is hop­ing for a guilty ver­dict and a max­i­mum sen­tence, which can be up to 10 years.

“As a hu­man be­ing, I un­der­stand ac­ci­dents hap­pen,” she said. “But how can you just leave some­one ly­ing in the road like that? And not call 9-1-1?”

Lawrence’s ar­rest came with the help of a tip­ster who re­mains anony­mous.

“I’ll never for­get that day,” Tawney-Co­hill said. “My front win­dow was open, and I saw a piece of pa­per duct­taped to my mail­box, flap­ping in the wind. It was a note.”

The hand-writ­ten note stated: “The ve­hi­cle that hit your son is at 401 Stem­mers Run Road 21221. White GMC Yukon. His name is Danny. I hope this helps your fam­ily.”

Tawney-Co­hill said she con­tacted the po­lice, who told her they had re­ceived the same tip. She then went to the ad­dress her­self to in­ves­ti­gate.

She saw a white GMC Yukon. “The hood was re­moved, and the right front panel was gone.”

After fur­ther po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Lawrence, was in­dicted on Dec. 12 and taken into cus­tody on Dec. 19. He was sub­se­quently re­leased on $100,000 bail.

Prior to Lawrence’s ar­rest, friends and fam­ily of Keith had raised $3,000 as a re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest and con­vic­tion of a sus­pect. That was in ad­di­tion to a $2,000 re­ward of­fered by Metro Crime Stop­pers.

But the per­son who wrote the note has re­mained anony­mous.

“My fam­ily and I would like to thank the per­son who left the note,” Denise said.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion checked videos taken by the se­cu­rity cam­eras of busi­nesses along that stretch of North Point Boule­vard dur­ing the time Keith was struck, be­tween mid­night and 1 a.m.

One video re­port­edly shows the ve­hi­cle driv­ing down the road with two work­ing head­lights. Another video, filmed min­utes later, re­port­edly shows the ve­hi­cle mak­ing a turn onto St. Mon­ica Drive with just one work­ing head­light.

Dur­ing the can­dle­light vigil, peo­ple gath­ered in a field be­hind Tawney-Co­hill’s home at dusk.

Pas­tor Katie Grover spoke about Keith, and in­vited oth­ers to share their mem­o­ries of him.

“I felt I needed to do this,” Denise said of the vigil. “I didn’t want Keith to be for­got­ten. He didn’t de­serve to be run over like that and left to die in a ditch by him­self.”

As part of the vigil, the fam­ily and friends pre­pared three “sky lanterns”: hot-air bal­loons with mem­o­ries and mes­sages for Keith writ­ten on the sides.

Keith and his fam­ily are mem­bers of the Knights of the Road Mo­tor­cy­cle Club. The Michi­gan Chap­ter of the club has a me­mo­rial wall for fallen mem­bers, and re­leases sky lanterns with mes­sages writ­ten on them.

At the end of the vigil, Keith’s fam­ily and friends re­leased bal­loons in the air, fol­lowed by the three sky lanterns. The bal­loons and the sky lanterns sailed away into the evening sky, the lanterns’ light form­ing a tri­an­gle in the dark as they climbed into the heav­ens.

PHOTO BY BILL GATES

Pas­tor Katie Grover talks about Keith Tawney to the over 100 friends and fam­ily who at­tended a can­dle­light vigil for the Edge­mere man, killed one year ago by a hit-and-run driver.

Denise Tawney-Co­hill and her hus­band, Mark Co­hill, lis­ten as Pas­tor Katie Grover speaks dur­ing the can­dle­light vigil for Denise’s son, Keith Tawney.

PHO­TOS BY BILL GATES

The mes­sage on the side of this sky lantern re­leased in me­mory of Keith Tawney reads: “Al­ways on my mind. For­ever in my heart.”

One of the sky lanterns re­leased as a me­mo­rial for Keith Tawney is pre­pared for launch. Over 100 friends and fam­ily of keith tawney at­tended a can­dle­light vigil on Au­gust 23 to re­mem­ber Keith on the first an­niver­sary of his death.

Bal­loons re­leased dur­ing the vigil for Keith Tawney spread out over the Edge­mere sky. Pho­tos of Keith Tawney dis­played dur­ing the can­dle­light vigil last week to re­mem­ber him on the first an­niver­sary of his death.

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