ELKTON — The former mayor of Oxford, Pa. has been charged with drunken-driving in connection with a two-vehicle crash that injured her and two other people near Rising Sun in September, according to Cecil County District Court records.
Dfc. Bryan Shockey of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office filed four charges against Lorraine Durnan Bell, 56, on Monday – approximately one month after she resigned her mayoral position, citing medical reasons, court records show.
Bell is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol per se and negligent driving in a careless and imprudent manner endangering property, life and person, according to court records.
All of the charges against Bell are categorized as traffic offenses, including the most serious count — driving under the influence of alcohol, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine.
Elected to the position in the 2017 election, Bell was the sitting Borough of Oxford mayor at the time of the crash, which occurred at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 in the 200 block of Stevens Road.
Bell, whom investigators identified as the “at-fault driver,” was driving a 2008 Chrysler Sebring in the northbound lane of Stevens Road when she inexplicably crossed the centerline and crashed into a southbound Jeep Cherokee driven by Melissa Maccari, 31, of North East, police reported at the time.
Ambulance crews transported Maccari and her front-seat passenger, Bernice Fogle, 55, of Rising Sun, to area hospitals, according to Lt. Michael Holmes, a CCSO spokesman, who noted that Fogle is Maccari’s mother.
Holmes described Fogle’s injury as “serious but non-life-threatening.”
A 1-year-old girl, who was secured in a child safety seat in the back seat of that Jeep, was not injured, police reported.
An ambulance crew drove Bell to Christiana Hospital in Delaware, where she treated for what police officials described as “serious injuries” and was discharged after an undisclosed period of hospitalization.
Police reported that blood was drawn from Bell at the hospital shortly after she had arrived there for the purpose of a test to determine her blood-alcohol content.
That test was conducted because Shockey, lead investigator, detected an odor of alcohol coming from Bell at the crash scene, according to Holmes, who commented at the time, “There is a suspicion that she was under the influence of alcohol.”
The drunken-driving charges were filed against Bell on Monday, after investigators had received the results of that test, according to police. Cecil County Public Schools confirmed that Bell had been a third-grade teacher at Rising Sun Elementary School since 2001. She was also an adjunct Cecil College instructor who taught psychology during the fall of 2017 semester, a spokesman for the college confirmed.
Her win in the 2017 election gave Bell, a Democrat, the distinction of being the first woman to hold the mayoral position in the Borough of Oxford, which was incorporated in 1833. Her term began in January 2018 and, at the time of her Dec. 2 resignation, she had served about 23 months. The term, which will be completed by her successor, runs through 2021.