BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s heartache that’s felt too often, heartache that changes lives forever.

“It just breaks my heart, that’s the word I describe when people say, ‘How are you?’ I say I’m heartbroken.” said Sheila Garrity, former wife of Tom Gluick.

Tom Gluick and Sheila Garrity. Credit: Sheila Garrity

For Sheila Garrity, every day is a struggle. On New Year’s Eve, her former husband Tom Gluick, who was visiting from Georgia, was struck in the middle of a crosswalk, right near the Towson Town Center.

A driver in a Dodge Ram hit the former Johns Hopkins professor and never stopped.

“Witnesses say his shoes were in the crosswalk and his body was 25 feet away,” Garrity said. “Tom is a big guy.”

“Someone obviously knew they hit Tom,” Garrity added.

WJZ’s Rick Ritter: “Just left him to die?” 

“And just left him to die,” Garrity said.

Gluick was airlifted to Shock Trauma and despite the impact, he somehow survived and was quickly healing — or so they thought.

“Severe trauma to head, multiple face fractures, including both eye sockets,” Garrity said.

Days later, the 62-year-old died unexpectedly.

“He complained of that pain again and later we know that was a sign a blood clot was forming,” Garrity said. “They gave him medication and came back to check on him, his eyes were wide open, they coded him for an hour and he died.”

WJZ’s Rick Ritter: “Is that what hurts the most, the fact that you saw him Sunday night? And gone just like that? 

“It was with every belief that I would see him again and we were making plans, we chose a rehab together, and he was going on Monday,” Garrity said. “There’s not a day that I can make it through without sobbing.”

WJZ went back to talk with Garrity after she said police had arrested the man they said hit Gluick, a 34-year-old John Marking, Jr.

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“It’s not brought any peace, not at all,” Garrity said. “I still miss Tom, he’s never coming back.”

Garrity reacted to Marking’s arrest after he was released on a $20,000 bond.

“What is most outrageous about this to me is he’s out on bail, he was allowed to go for $20,000, is that what a life is worth? I have a hard time making peace with that,” she said.

“I just need him to see, he’s impacted more lives than the one he took, Tom’s, and I need to look at him,” Garrity added. “For me, it would mean something for him to say that he’s sorry and admit responsibility.”

Gluick is just the latest of many people hit by cars, and not all those cases have ended in an arrest.

One week after he was hit, two children were struck and killed in the Essex area. The same week, a six-year-old kindergartner was hit and killed by a car in Columbia.

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Just weeks before that, 15-year-old Trinity Brooks was struck and killed by a drunk driver in Dundalk who was found unconscious behind the wheel.

More than 2,000 pedestrians were hit in Baltimore County between 2016 and 2019

Statistics show in Baltimore County alone, there have been more than 2,000 people injured in pedestrian accidents in a four-year period.

“Someone murdered the man that I loved, that’s what it is now, just murder,” Garrity said.

WJZ’s Rick Ritter: “To think there’s other families going through what you are, does that eat away at your heart?” 

“It does, some of those people left children behind,” Garrity said. “They have so many of these cases, it’s an epidemic.”

“After Tom’s accident, I turn on the news and another person, I would start to cry because I knew exactly what that person was going through,” she added. “Some of those stories, they didn’t even make it to Shock Trauma, they died at the scene and were robbed of any hope.”

She reiterated that this is an epidemic.

“It’s an epidemic, just like shootings in schools,” Garrity said.

The question: why the staggering numbers?

First Class Officer Cynthia Spriggs with Baltimore County Police points to technology.

“The society is changing a little bit, we have more technological stuff, everyone is kind of in a hurry,” Spriggs said.

She said even if we’re behind the wheel, at some point, we all become the pedestrian.

“Put the devices down, it’s going to save a life, it could be yours or a family member,” Spriggs said. “Let’s go back to the way we did with seatbelts, teach everyone from birth up, how we need to do this safely.”

“Come on people, someone died here, let’s just pay attention, let’s focus on what we’re doing,” she added. “When we’re behind the wheel, we have a piece of machinery that’s capable of killing someone.”

For Gluick’s family, it’s a sliver of justice that at one point they thought they’d never get.

But at the end of the day, the man Garrity loved came back into her life only to be ripped away.

“Tom was a gentle giant, he was silly and loved life, and was the crazy scientist,” Garrity said. “When I wake up in the morning and realize first thing, this is real and I just start to cry.”

She said no one can take away those two weeks away she had to say goodbye, and they both had thought they were getting back together.

“Tom would hope his death would bring some good to other people, so no one will have to go through what we’re going through now. It’s just a big hole in my heart,” she said.

Garrity also released a statement Thursday night thanking police and the community for their support:

“The family of Tom Gluick is grateful to Officer Weber and the Baltimore County Police Crash Team who conducted an incredibly thorough investigation which led to the arrest of John Marking. We are also grateful to the Baltimore community for the tremendous outpouring of support. We are outraged that given the measures by the suspect to cover up his crime and his prior DUI history that he was not kept in custody. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

According to court records, Marking was charged with two driving offenses in 2008. In one case, he pleaded not guilty to a DUI charge and was given probation. The other case was dismissed.

Rick Ritter

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