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Date: Sep 28, 2017

Lassell “Tony” Burger is Credited with Preventing Potentially Fatal Multi-Vehicle Accident 

It was a full house this morning as Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz presented a Baltimore County Hero Pin to Bureau of Utilities Masonry Mechanic Lassell “Tony” Burger, who maneuvered his work truck into position to help prevent a potentially fatal multi-car accident on the Beltway.

“They say the true mark of a hero is when someone says they did what anyone would do; well, no one else but Tony stepped up, and that is why I am honored to present him with a Baltimore County Hero Pin,” Kamenetz said.

“We appreciate the measures that Tony took to mitigate a potentially catastrophic chain reaction accident from occurring,” said Baltimore County Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III. Chief Preis was so impressed with Tony’s actions and demeanor that he encouraged him to consider joining the Baltimore County Fire Department.

A Runaway Car and an Alert Truck Driver

On Thursday afternoon, July 6, a driver in medical distress was not fully in control of his vehicle, and was travelling at highway speeds on the left shoulder of the inner loop of the Baltimore Beltway. Citizen reports on the scene indicate that his Toyota Yaris had travelled erratically along the shoulder of I-695 from about Liberty Road to near Harford Road, occasionally bumping into traffic cones and signs.

Tony Burger was leaving a job site where he had completed a storm drain repair, and saw the car when he entered the Beltway at Dulaney Valley Road. As he followed the car, he realized that something was definitely wrong. He turned on his emergency lights and blew the horn, but was unable to get the driver’s attention. He knew that if he didn’t do something, the driver was likely to crash, potentially killing himself and others.

Tony pulled from the shoulder back into the fast lane and sped up to get around the front of the car. He positioned his County truck (a four-door water services truck) in front of the car and prepared to collide with the car in order to slow it down and bring it to a safe stop on the shoulder of the highway. Just prior to contact, the out-of-control car hit a storm drain grate, blew a tire and careened into the jersey wall, which brought it to a stop. Police and medic units responded and the driver was transported to the hospital for treatment.

About Our Hero and the Man He Helped Rescue

Lassell “Tony” Burger is a Bureau of Utilities Masonry Mechanic who works on storm drains and wastewater pipeline repairs. He has been with the County since March of 2010, works out of the Fullerton Utilities Shop and resides in Baltimore City. He works part-time at the Lansdowne Home Depot store. Tony says he doesn’t consider himself a hero and was just responding based on how his parents raised him to always try to help people.

The driver, Robert “Mighty Moe” Bruce is an Air Force veteran (former Staff Sargent and M.P.) who worked for AT&T and Western Electric as a radar technician. According to his wife, Annie Bruce, he is the winner of four Golden Glove boxing championships, two of which he earned while serving in the Air Force. He and his wife have lived in the Arlington neighborhood of Baltimore City for almost 40 years.

One More Recognition

At today’s ceremony, Annie Bruce personally thanked Station #8 Fire Specialist Jessica Alford, who responded to the incident and noticed that there were perishable groceries in the car. She took it upon herself to store them for several days and ensure that they got back to the Bruce’s. 

Photos from today’s event may be viewed and downloaded at Please feel free to share these pictures.

Winning Programs Cover Body Worn Cameras, Veterans Resources, Brain Health and Food Insecurity 

This morning County Executive Kevin Kamenetz took time to personally thank several County employees for their innovative efforts that helped Baltimore County earn national recognition for programs including the Police Department’s new Body Worn Cameras initiative, and programs serving seniors, veterans, and more.

The County was awarded five 2017 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), including one of the top “100 Brilliant Ideas at Work” designations for the Department of Aging’s Food Agent program that assigns volunteers to deliver free food to homebound seniors.

“Once again, Baltimore County was hailed as a national leader by NACo for our fresh approach to providing residents with cost-effective services in a way that emphasizes public safety, transparency and compassion,” Kamenetz said. “Our extremely dedicated Department of Aging staff really outdid themselves this year with three awards, including one of the top 100 ‘brilliant ideas at work’ awards for their Food Agent program, which proactively identifies low-income homebound seniors and coordinates regular delivery of donated groceries by volunteers.”

The Baltimore County agencies that merited national recognition this year include:

  • Baltimore County Police Department, Office of Information Technology and State’s Attorney’s Office for the Police Body-Worn Camera Program
  • Department of Aging for the Food Agent Program – “100 Brilliant Ideas at Work” Winner
  • Department of Aging for their “Brain Matters” Educational Initiative
  • Department of Aging and the HomeFront Committee of Baltimore County for the Veterans Outreach Initiative
  • Office of Information Technology for its ESRI Open Data Site transparency initiative 

“I continue to be impressed by the outstanding efforts of our County agencies and especially appreciate our employees’ commitment to building strong communities and caring for our most vulnerable people,” said Baltimore County Council Chair Tom Quirk. 

Revised September 11, 2017