In Memoriam: Justice for Coach Oles

It took a snow plow to do him in.

Yesterday, the man who struck and killed fencing coach Dick Oles with his snow plow during January’s snow storm was convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

The Judge made a point of highlighting the driver’s cowardice…

by J. Christoph Amberger

Baltimore, MD—Maximilian Hopkins Bode, 21, of Pasadena, MD, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal accident on Aug. 31. He was driving a Ford F-350 pickup truck with a plow blade attached in the early morning hours of Jan. 27, during the region’s first major snow storm of the year.

The pedestrian was Baltimore-area fencing icon Dick Oles, our tough-as-nails 77-year-old fencing coach, who’d retired from coaching the Johns Hopkins University team after 45 years in 2003. In this period, he produced champions at several levels, including U.S. Olympic team members, many of whom returned to Baltimore for his funeral.

Fencers and friends honor the memory of Coach Oles at Salle Pallasz

Right after the accident,  about 2:30 a.m., one of Bode’s three passengers called 911 and reported the incident. The dispatcher could hear shouts of “stop the truck” during the call.

They chose not to.

After being apprehended by police, Bode admitted to striking a “pedestrian […] walking with traffic in the road,” and clipping him with the passenger side of the snowplow. He was sentenced Wednesday to 60 days in jail for leaving the scene of the accident.

Dick Oles was an old-school coach whose attitude to fencing as a combat sport managed to rub many a softer fencer the wrong way. Valued and respected by those who took the sport seriously, his motto was aptly summed up as “hit ’em, stick ’em, kill ’em, and don’t give up until it’s over”. Dick Oles also founded and headed both Salle Palasz and The Tri-Weapons Boys’ Club for many decades.

Article in the Baltimore Sun.

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