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Safeway employees, customers help save life of coworker

CHESTER — On the morning of Sept. 21, torrential rains blanketed parts of the Eastern Shore and flooding arose in some areas.

That includes the parking lot of the Safeway grocery story on Kent Island.

By 10 a.m., water covering the store’s parking lot began to overwhelm the drainage pond, which is located between the store and the Chick-fil-A restaurant along U.S. Route 50.

Safeway employee Charles Davis, in his 60’s, who has been employed at the store for four years, walked with his cane to his car, preparing to leave. Store Front Manager Brittany Grottendick followed Davis to his car. “He appeared to be having difficulty walking in the very wet parking lot,” she noted. Grottendick then watched as Davis drove away from the store front in the direction of Chick-fil-A.

The water he was driving through was already deep, and became deeper the further he drove. Suddenly, the car appeared to be floating in the water, and was pulled into the drainage pond. Witnessing this, Grottendick immediately went inside the store yelling for store employees to come quickly outside to help Davis. She also dialed 911 to report the emergency.

Store employees Paul Lafferty, Joe Mansfield and Kelsie Goettling ran across the parking lot, going into the flood waters to reach Davis who was now trapped inside his car. The flood waters had short circuited the electrical system of the car, leaving the doors and windows locked from outside. Lafferty said, “The car became totally submerged in the pond.”

Unidentified Safeway customers also joined in the rescue. Lafferty and Mansfield were swimming in the flooded pond water to get to the car.

“A woman provided us with a hammer which we used to breakout the car’s sunroof. If he hadn’t had a sunroof on the car, I’m certain he would have drowned,” Mansfield said.

Once they removed the sunroof, they used scissors, provided by another bystander to cut the seatbelt off Davis. He was then able to partially stand up with his head out of the sunroof window to keep his head above water.

While all this took place, emergency responders from the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department arrived. KIVFD Chief Buddy Thomas and other firefighters broke the rear window out of Davis’ car to allow the water to drain out, and for one firefighter to climb through the window to open a car door manually, which allowed another space for water to be released. The firefighters then placed a tow-line to Davis’ car, using the fire truck to pull his car out of the pond with Davis still inside.

“I was neck deep in the water while we were attempting to break the rear windshield and get the water out of the car. The water was very cold, and I’m sure Mr. Davis was probably suffering from exposure to that cold water, plus the shock of what had happened to him before we got him out,” Davis said.

Davis was taken to the hospital..

Safeway Manager Andranie Jinarain said, “Charles has been a dedicated employee, working out at our gasoline pump area building most of the time. The employees who responded did so without hesitation, and went above and beyond. I think it’s a good example of the caring we have among our employees, like being a family here at the store.”

A previous version of this story Sept. 21 did not include the Safeway’s employees contribution to the rescue effort.

Wes Moore visits Easton in bid for Maryland governor

EASTON — Wes Moore, a Democrat running for Maryland governor, visited the Shore on Saturday, Oct. 9, stopping by businesses in downtown Easton. He also did some fundraising for his gubernatorial bid.

Moore is part of a crowded field of candidates looking to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Larry Hogan.

Moore will started at Out of the Fire on Goldsborough Street and made his way around the block. He kept engaging people on the question, “How are you doing since COVID?” Moore sought to connect with the local business owners and others he spoke with during his stop.

He served as a captain in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan in 2005-2006 and was CEO four four years at the Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit focused on combatting poverty. He is a father of two and an author of the best selling book “The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates.” When speaking about the book, which follows his life and that of another Wes Moore, who ended up in the prison system, he talks about the “expectation gap.” The Democrat is also a former Rhodes Scholar graduated from John Hopkins University with a bachelor’s in international relations and economics.

His life is an interesting tale, coming from a family of three kids being raised by his mother which wasn’t the easiest circumstances growing up in Baltimore and New York.

“My dad died when I was 4. So my mom was going to raise three kids as a single mom. She needed help. She got her first job with benefits when I was 14 at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This is a person with a master’s degree, who was repeatedly being underpaid and undervalued. This is the challenge I think so many families are facing right now. We have families who are working really hard right now. They are trying, but are not able to get their head above water; especially as the flood is coming,” he said.

During his walk around Easton, Moore returned again and again to human resilience, and how these small businesses are surviving after COVID.

“There is a measure of interconnectedness of everything and how we function as a society — about our pain points and our pressure points as a society and about how all this impacts all of us. If there is anything about this moment and what has happened with COVID-19, I think it was a great illustration that somebody’s pain is not just their pain. This is touching all of us as a society. It is the best way to support all of us to make sure that everyone feels this sense of growth and what that means and what it looks like,” he said.

He popped into Trade Whims, a gift store, and talked with one the shop keepers Christy Bartlett, asking how her year has been.

“It has really picked up. There are a lot of new people. The Tidewater Inn brings in really great weddings. I think Paul Prager has really done an excellent job too. He has really brought the town up. He has changed the fabric of Easton,” Bartlett said, referring to the popular hotel and events venue and the local businessman who has brought restaurants, book stores and businesses to downtown buildings.

Moore shared some of his experience with local voters during the tour so they could get to know him better.

“I went into the Army. I served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne, and when I was done I came back to Maryland. This is the place where I was born, where I came of age, where I fell in love and got married. I have a 10-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son,” he said.

If elected, Moore said he wants to focus on three things: work, wages and wealth.

“I want to create pathways for work, wages and wealth for all Marylanders, making sure that there is a level playing field between those living on the Shore and residents in the rest of the state,” he said. “I am a big believer that employment is going to be the key to a lot of societal and structural issues. I want to make sure that we can pass something off to future generations other than debt. So for me, that’s my Northstar.”

Moore also touted his leadership experience. “I’m an executive. Maryland is going to be electing its next chief executive of the state next year. When I think of the work I have done my entire life, whether it is leading soldiers in combat in some of the most dangerous places in the world, or whether it is starting a successful small business or helping students make it to and through college. The thread between all of those things is that I have been a chief executive. I would put my credentials as a chief executive against anyone in this race.”

Moore made it a little further down the block to Tim Boyle’s Vintage Books store on Washington Street where there was a school teacher who had taught his book, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” to her students and asked him to sign it, appearing to be a little star struck.

Teacher Linda Earls told Moore, “You spoke to them. They thought they would never get off the farm. Or that they would never make it out of Caroline County. Until they read your story and they say if he can, I bet I can too.”

Moore also visited the Tidewater Inn and spoke to General Manager Lauren Catterton, who was worried about getting enough people to help out with the 60 weddings she has on the books for this year. The Tidewater Inn went from a staff of 150 to 14 managers during COVID. They all had to learn to make beds and clean toilets, she said.

“I am concerned with the Waterfowl Festival. We have a ton of people coming and I don’t know how are we going to keep up with demand. We don’t want to disappoint them because they come back to town year after year,” she said.

3 things

1 Famous birthdays today: Country singer Melba Montgomery is 84. Former White House counsel John W. Dean III is 83. Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is 82. Singer Sir Cliff Richard is 81. Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi is 57. Actor Steve Coogan is 56. Singer Usher (pictured) is 43. TV personality Stacy Keibler is 42.

2 In 1066, Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings. In 2008, a grand jury in Orlando, Fla. returned charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter against Casey Anthony in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. (She was acquitted in July 2011.) (More history on A4)

3 Workers are quitting their jobs at record levels. A record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, according to federal data released Tuesday. That translates into 2.9% of U.S. workers leaving their jobs during the month — which is also a record. The high attrition rates are being felt across workplaces and professions in Maryland and across the country. (Story on A2)

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launches carrying passengers William Shatner, Chris Boshuizen, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

Captain Kirk in space

William Shatner smiles during a media availability at the Blue Origin spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. The “Star Trek” actor and three fellow passengers hurtled to an altitude of 66.5 miles (107 kilometers) over the West Texas desert in the fully automated capsule, then safely parachuted back to Earth in a flight that lasted just over 10 minutes. (Story on A2)

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Claiborne man charged with child sex abuse, assault; Case forwarded to Circuit Court

EASTON — A Claiborne man faces charges in Talbot County Circuit Court on charges of sexual abuse and neglect of a minor, assault and various sex offenses. Formal charges were filed Sept. 28.

In a preliminary hearing, Talbot District Judge Karen Ketterman found sufficient probable cause in the case against David Brandon Carter, 34, of Claiborne, to forward it. Carter is charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor, four counts of second-degree assault, two counts of third-degree sex offense, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense, and three counts of neglect of a minor.

Carter was arrested on a warrant on Aug. 6, just over a week after the alleged victim’s mother filed a protective order with the Talbot County District Court Commissioner against him. The mother filed for the protective order after hearing several alarming statements from her daughter about alleged inappropriate sexual gestures from Carter.

The unwanted physical and sexual contact detailed in the petition included Carter allegedly kissing the victim on the lips, touching the victim’s inner thigh and squeezing her buttocks, according to court records of the petition. The petition also reported physical abuse that Carter allegedly inflicted, including slapping, pulling hair and throwing the victim’s head against the wall.

Criminal charges were filed against Carter following the order.

After the protective order was filed, a concerning forensic interview of the teenage victim was conducted at the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center on July 28. During the interview, the victim told a social worker about Carter touching her in her private areas, including her vagina, starting when she was young.

During the preliminary hearing, the arresting officer revealed that the victim’s mother had reported an incident to Maryland State Police when the girl was 3 years old. The victim’s mother told police that she observed her daughter with her hands in her underwear touching herself, saying things like he “touched my ‘gina” and “I want to touch it like (he) do.”

The Maryland State Police investigated the incident with the preschooler. No charges were filed.

During her interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center, the victim also shared details of more recent incidents of alleged inappropriate touching, according to information shared during the preliminary hearing.

The most recent incident took place on July 4, according to the victim’s testimony. The teen recalled wearing a hoodie with a bra underneath, and Carter reportedly touched her breasts, rubbing and feeling them purposefully before he reached down her hoodie.

The arresting officer detailed another incident between Carter and the teen where Carter reportedly pushed two beds together, locked the door, made the victim pull down her pants and underwear, then proceeded to make moaning noises. Specific dates were not given on this incident.

Additional details emerged during the hearing about the cause of the assault and neglect charges, which stemmed from a domestic violence incident earlier in 2021. Carter and his wife were reportedly not getting along, and Carter allegedly pushed his wife into a chair and slapped her, according to details shared in the hearing.

Children in the house were injured during the same incident, according to the charges. One child received a cut, another child was allegedly slammed to the wall, and Carter reportedly threw several objects including a can, table and chair — one of which struck an infant’s head, leaving a bruise.

Based on the nature of the charges, four of which are felonies, Carter has been held without bond in the Talbot County Detention Center since his arrest. He is scheduled to appear in court for an initial appearance on Nov. 10, according to online court records.

Court records indicate that Carter has previous convictions related to possession of controlled dangerous substances and assault.

Natalie Jones is a reporter at The Star Democrat in Easton covering crime, health, education and Talbot County Council. You can reach her with questions, comments or tips at njones@chespub.com.