Md. sheriff suspends officer for ‘disgusting’ Facebook comment on fatal crash

WASHINGTON — An officer with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has been taken off the job after making an online comment in response to a fatal crash that the sheriff has called “disgusting” and “highly inappropriate.”

Sheriff Troy Berry said in a statement that the officer was suspended pending further administrative actions.

Colin Bipat
Colin Bipat

“One of our own employees, a sworn officer, made a remark on his personal social media page that was highly inappropriate and extremely insensitive,” Berry said.

The officer’s comment came after two teenagers were killed in a crash in Waldorf, Maryland, on Friday. On the officer’s Facebook page, he posted “(Expletive) ’em, shouldn’t have been driving that fast.”

“Since I became sheriff, my goal has been to foster a relationship with our community that is built on integrity, respect, service, and compassion for others,” Berry said. “One disgusting comment, one insensitive sentence, and an officer’s total lack of judgment certainly has the potential to harm that relationship.”

The two teenagers who died, Colin Bipat and Desmond Cook, were both 17-year-old seniors from Westlake High School. They were pronounced dead at the scene after their car, driven by Bipat, swerved off the road and crashed into a utility pole around noon.

Another passenger, 18-year-old Caleb Marshall, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Desmond Cooke
Desmond Cooke

The victims were involved in career-oriented programs outside of school, said Westlake Principal Michael Meiser, which is why they weren’t on school property at the time. The two killed were just months from graduation.

“This one really hurt,” said Meiser.

The crash occurred near Smallwood Drive and St. Nicholas Drive. Their car was evidently speeding when it reached a congested area, investigators said. To avoid other vehicles, Bipat swerved and crashed into the pole, and the force of the crash split the car in two, sending parts of the vehicle across the intersection.

“We share our griefs together, and we move forward,” Meiser said.

The school plans to hold a vigil Wednesday evening for all the students who have lost their lives since the start of the 2016-17 school year. In addition to Bipat and Cook, seniors Reuel Hicks and Caleb Horne also died suddenly this year.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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