A woman became the first person in Frederick County to be charged with violating Gov. Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order on Sunday, according to court documents.
The charge, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine upon conviction, was filed against 39-year-old Leigh Anne Topolansky after sheriff’s deputies responded to her home off Woodchuck Lane north of Frederick to investigate a 911 hang-up at 8:20 p.m. Sunday.
Deputies found a domestic argument at the home and learned from two witnesses that Topolansky drove to a relative’s home earlier in the day to pick up a relative to help Topolansky move several appliances around her home, according to charging documents.
Deputies determined that Topolansky’s reason for leaving her home was not essential and was not an exception to the governor’s March 30 directive ordering all residents who did not have essential jobs to stay home to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the documents.
A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office was not immediately available for comment Tuesday, but Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith, responding by email to The Frederick News-Post’s questions, said the case appeared to be one of, if not the first example of the order being enforced in the county.
“There is a possibility that citations have been issued, but I am not aware of any,” Smith wrote.
A search of online court records from the date the order went into effect through Tuesday did not show any other cases involving people charged with violating orders issued during a state of emergency.
Frederick County law enforcement agencies, including the sheriff’s office, clarified early on after the stay-at-home order that their patrol officers and deputies would not be randomly stopping drivers, using checkpoints or other such methods to enforce the order. The sheriff’s office indicated its approach would be to consider citing individuals who are found to be in violation of the order during the normal course of an investigation or traffic stop.
Topolansky was also charged with a single count each of second-degree assault, second-degree child abuse and failure to obey a lawful order by a law enforcement officer after deputies determined that she assaulted a teen girl during the argument. Topolansky also ignored orders to stop shouting over them as they attempted to speak to others, the documents state.
Additionally, Topolansky was charged with malicious destruction of property in excess of $1,000 after deputies said she pulled a fire sprinkler head off the wall in a holding cell at the Frederick County Law Enforcement Center following her arrest. The lower level of the law enforcement center was partially flooded as a result, damaging carpeting, electronics and boxes, the documents state.
Topolansky was released early Tuesday after she was granted an unsecured personal bond in the amount of $10,000, according to online court records.