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Tragedy befell one Carroll County law enforcement family serving twice in the span of 13 months with the death on Sept. 24 of detective Jason Simons of Hampstead.

Simons, a seven-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, was involved in a crash at 1:41 p.m. Sept. 24 in the 3500 block of Black Rock Road.

He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said.

His fatal accident came just a year after the death of his stepfather, Lt. Michael Howe, who commanded the Baltimore County Police Tactical Unit.

Howe, of Manchester, died of a stroke Aug. 11, a day after responding to a murder-suicide in Randallstown.

Simons, even at age 32, had already earned a distinction among his fellow officers in the Towson precinct.

He was, in a phrase, "the best."

Simons' supervisor in the Towson Investigative Services Unit, Sgt. Chad Rosay, an 11-year veteran of the force, said Simons, who investigated robberies, was "made for the job" and extremely skilled at solving cases.

"The clearance rate just skyrocketed when he came up here," Rosay said.

His fellow officers described Simons as "highly decorated," pointing out that he won numerous awards, including an Officer of the Year award for the state.

Crash investigators said preliminary investigation indicates that Simons was eastbound on Black Rock Road in his 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup on his way to work. He was approaching a sharp turn on the wet road when he lost control of his truck, which then struck a guardrail and flipped over onto its top, trapping Simons inside with serious injuries. After being extricated by firefighters, he was airlifted to the Shock Trauma Center.

Detective Matt Barnes, a five-year veteran of the department, said Simons' greatest talent as an investigator was his ability to get nearly anyone to talk with him.

"He could talk to anybody," Barnes said. "Homeless people, the captains, victims and suspects alike. He could get anybody to do anything. He could get a guy with a handgun in his back pocket to consent to be searched. ...

"He'd see a guy he had locked up and stop and shoot the breeze with him. Even guys he had arrested liked him," he added.

Simons grew up in Westminster, his coworkers said. He attended North Carroll High School, where he graduated in 1995, according to his obituary information. He was married nine years to Melissa Simons and they had a 6-year-old son, Jackson.

Rosay said Simons had recently gotten into running. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, was an expert on landscaping and constantly talked about watching his son play soccer, the officers said.

Detective Rich Bankert, a 13-year veteran of the force, said the members of the close-knit investigative unit don't quite know how to react to the news of Simons' death.

"I don't think it's really hit us," he said. "It's still kind of surreal."

"He's one of those people that people want to be around," Rosay said.

Funeral services were held Sept. 29 from Eline Funeral Home. Interment was private.

In addition to his wife and son, Simons is survived by parents Rufus Wade Simons of Westminster and Debra Simons Howe of Manchester.

Also surviving him are grandparents James and Nancy Seal, of Owings Mills, and Rufus A. Simons, of Finksburg; half-sister Hope Simons of Westminster; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Aubrey and Carlos Hall, of Owings Mills; brothers-in-law Timothy, Matthew and Brandon Wilfong; in-laws Mike and Peggy Wilfong, of Hampstead; and aunt and uncle Salli and Don Goodrich, of Bethany Beach, Del. He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Lena Simons; and by Howe, his stepfather.

Officers said they hope to collect donations for Simons' wife and son. Donations may be mailed to c/o Melissa Simons, Investigative Services Unit, 115 W. Susquehanna Ave., Towson MD 21204; or to Jackson Wade Simons, c/o BB&T Bank, 1300 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD 21784.


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