Longtime Fencing Coach Killed By Snow Plow

MILLERSVILLE, Md. (WJZ/AP) –The dangerous roads are responsible for several deadly accidents.

Mike Schuh is following an investigation of one of the fatalities in Anne Arundel County.

The 77-year-old man who was struck and killed in Anne Arundel County is known around the world. The car of former Hopkins fencing Coach Richard “Dick” Oles was disabled for some reason. His plan to fix it ended in his death.

Dick Oles was a legendary Hopkins fencing coach. He won world championships—his students, over 600 matches.
He coached the Johns Hopkins fencing team for 45 years before he retired in 2003.

A friend and fellow fencer, Dan Collins, says Oles “lived and breathed fencing” and still showed up every night at his North Baltimore fencing club, Salle Palasz.

Collins says Oles’ death is “a great loss” to the fencing community, calling him “a character and an interesting man who
cared so much about this sport.”

Early Thursday morning, for whatever reason, he had his car towed to a gas station. After dropping off his car, the victim started to walk east, toward his home four miles away. He only made it about half a block before he was struck.

The accident happened along a particularly narrow stretch of mountain road. The 911 caller told police that she saw the driver hit Oles and not stop.

“We’re interested in locating the F-350. It’s a red Ford pickup, according to the caller, with a snow plow on the front. We don’t even know if this person knows they have been involved in an accident or not,” said Lt. Francis Tewey, Anne Arundel County Police.

Traffic investigators are back on the scene, asking anyone who can help solve the mystery of who hit Oles to give them a call.

If the driver is found, police can’t say if or when any charges will be filed. Their investigation is going to be turned over to the prosecutor for charges.

Here in Baltimore, a taxi driver died when a cab got stuck in snow and caught on fire.  And in Carroll County, a 32-year-old man collapsed and died while shoveling his driveway. It is still not clear what caused his death. Click here for more on that story.

More from Mike Schuh
  • moleman

    What was a 77 yr old doing out in a snowstorm at 2:30 a.m.?

    • dr. doolitle

      The fact that he was 77 year old male and walking at night, does not mean that he is responsible for his death. A man with his back round would most likely not hesitate to walk home four miles away. Moleman should be upset that this man was killed by a driver that did not stop making the driver who hit the man is the one to be criticized. The driver committed the manslaughter. He may have kept going because he driving may have been driving without a current license, or he has warrants against him and just kept going.

    • ss

      Why did a snow plow operator run over a 77 year old man and then leave the scene?

    • Lee Neighoff

      I’ve been plowing for years, why blame the storm? blame the driver for not being responsibly aware of his environment, and most likely he had no spotter in the passenger seat. My blessings to the oles family.

  • Jenni Penni

    How come the tow truck driver didnt give the guy a ride home? I mean…only 4 miles away. Not far at all. Everytime I broke down, I was always given a ride home if within 5 miles from my house…

  • sad

    maybe like the artical said the driver may not have seen the poor guy. Possible the poor sould was one of the guys stuck on the beltway until wee hours in the am and maybe knew he was going to run out of gas if he got stuck one time, and left his car and walked. Its sooo sad for both cause the guy lost his life and if the driver of the truck didnt see him you know he is going to feel awful at the least .

  • Doug

    You mean hit by a red truck,with a plow?
    Probably drunk

  • fat chris

    what does a red pick up truck with a plow out plowing streets have to do with the driver being drunk did you see how hard it was snowing what did the 77 year old me have on was it dark colors or light it was snowing so hard it made it diffcult to see soyes its a really highchance theman driveing the truck didnt see the 77 yearold mad have some common sense and think about what your gonna say before you post comments

  • kahnnen

    Mr. Richard was a kind and thoughtful person. When he came into the service station I used to work at, he would bring almond danishes to myself and the other cashier. Even when he was just stopping to get gas, he would visit and tell funny stories and talk to EVERYONE. I’m sure that he will be greatly missed by everyone who has ever known him, my thoughts are with his family and close friends, and I wish them the best.

  • Anne

    Mr. Oles is my neighbor and will be greatly missed.. My prayers go out to his family , friends and fencing students. RIP .

  • Robin

    moleman, if you read the story you would see what he was doing. I’m so glad that was your only concern about this…Some of the comments on this post are completely innappropriate! If this had been your relative, neighbor or friend, you would be outraged over these words. My thoughts are with the family. I hope the drive realizes it was him and turn himself in. But, being that it was in Pasadena and a pick-up was involved, there is a good chance that the driver was drunk. If nothing else, Pasadena has it’s fair share of those.

  • Brian W

    I found Coach’s fencing club when I was in junior-high and I’ve fenced ever since. I was fortunately able to attend his club’s latest graduation ceremony for their seniors and was glad to see how strongly it has continued.

    There was a nice article about him in Johns Hopkins Magazine in 2001. http://www.jhu.edu/~jhumag/0201web/fence.html

    If there was one thing a stranger could take away after meeting Coach – it was how passionately he cared about his sport and his students. While coaching at Hopkins it would not have been unusual to find him finishing a practice after 10pm on a Friday and be back to open for his youth club by 9am Saturday. Once you got to knew him, you discovered someone who loved music and opera, old swashbuckling films, and local history.

    For friends who knew him – hearing that he was attempting to walk home 4 miles in the snow is, unfortunately, all too believable. He didn’t look his age, and he certainly refused to feel it. He lived a full life, and I think he spent most of it doing the things he loved. I’m glad I had a chance to know him, and I’ll miss him a great deal.

  • woops

    tragic that he was hit but walking out on Mountain Rd at 2am in whiteout conditions during a SNOWSTORM is risking death….the tow truck driver likely didnt know he hit a person… Ive heard they found the truck/driver…lets hope the decease can rest & his family find peace

  • jujubee

    White out conditions do NOT excuse a hit and run! The driver was probably drunk, thus left the scene. If you are driving n a thoroughfare you know the difference between snow and hitting a human being. Hopefully this person is brought to justice and prosecuted. This is a despicable act. Mountain Road is NOT an interstate and speeds at that time of night, especially under those conditions should have been minimal.

  • Mel

    Where does it say what time this happened? Early Thursday morning, is all they said.

  • Chuck Reigle

    first of all where does it say 2 am?? Second if it was 2am, the snow was done, not a white out. Some people.

  • jb

    Lost in all of this is the fact that a great coach, a wonderful guy, was lost.
    Coach Oles taught me fencing in summer camp when I was a kid.
    He started a passion.
    He’ll be greatly missed

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