As 2013 comes to a close, it provides a great opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and what it brought to the Baltimore area.
From the Ravens' Super Bowl run to a spike in murders to a massive train derailment, Baltimore had no shortage of important, interesting stories to tell. ABC2 News brought you all of those stories and more. Here are 10 of the most viewed local stories of the year on ABC2news.com .
ATF studies fire phenomenon that burned an Essex teen (Feb. 7) – Essex teen Aubrey Clark was innocently celebrating the end of the year with friends in 2011 when her life was changed forever.
Clark was severely burned when another girl poured gasoline on a fire pit, which caused a blowtorch effect. The incident nearly killed her and led to 19 surgeries, skin grafting and intense physical therapy.
The phenomenon that caused the injury has since been examined by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. The phenomenon was new. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was just beginning to look into this danger.
The Clark family said they hope the freak accident will serve as a warning to others.
Ravens cheerleader killed in accident (July 5) - Raphael "Dyon" Bagby, 27, was riding a 2001 Suzuki GSXR motorcycle on Route 15 at Monocacy Boulevard when he braked suddenly to avoid a Volkswagen Jetta crossing into his lane. The sudden braking caused the motorcycle to skid and he was unable to stop before striking the passenger side of the Volkswagen.
Bagby was declared dead at the scene. The driver of the Volkswagen was not seriously injured. Bagby was a cheerleading coach for Infinity All Stars.
News of his death spread quickly through social media, with friends, family and the Ravens all expressing their grief and offering condolences to his loved ones.
Gang members, correctional officers charged (April 23) - Twenty-five Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) gang members and associates, including 13 corrections officers were indicted on federal racketeering, drug and money laundering charges that originated inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) and related facilities.
The BGF member at the center of the investigation, Tavon White, pleaded guilty in federal court. Along with running a criminal operation in the jail, White had sex with several female correctional officers impregnating at least four, according to law enforcement officials.
The indictments led a push for increased oversight into the prison system with some calling for the eventual closing of the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Ravens Super Bowl parade takes over Baltimore (Feb. 5) - Hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of Baltimore and thousands more packed M&T Bank Stadium to help celebrate the Ravens Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The victory represented the franchise's second Super Bowl title since 2000 and offered fans the chance to say good-bye to linebacker Ray Lewis, who retired, and safety Ed Reed, who left via free agency.
1-year-old dead after being left in hot car (July 5) - Many have a hard time understanding what happened to 16-month-old Sabriya Towels on a hot July day in 2013. The infant died after a relative accidentally left her in a truck for more than four hours.
The relative, not a parent, was supposed to drop her off at the Highland Village Head Start Center in Lansdowne. But instead, he drove to their home on South Paca Street and went inside to sleep and didn't realize the girl was still in the truck until he went to pick her back up from the center at the 4100 block of McDowell Lane.
No one was charged in the case, which brought added attention to the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars in hot weather.
"I remember rushing out to the scene with photojournalist Tony Marsala," said ABC2 News reporter Cheryl Connor. "We knew a baby was found unconscious in a vehicle located in Lansdowne. We were sweating from the afternoon heat in July. Detectives surrounded a dark truck, and across the street we could see the empty child seat. That emptiness was our focus of story-telling.
"Regardless of the circumstances, negligent or not, reporting a child's death is about as tough as it gets. I can remember starring at that seat and realizing the baby was just in there hours earlier, alive. I can't imagine living with the pain of leaving her ‘accidentally,' according to police. The family member was never charged; it's possible the greatest sentence is living with guilt."
UMMC investigating disparaging remarks following officer's death (Aug. 29) – Much of the Baltimore area was in mourning following the death of Baltimore County police Officer Jason Schneider. Schneider was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant in Catonsville.
In the aftermath of his death, an employee at University of Maryland Medical Center took to social media and wrote a post laced with obscenities, calling all cops dirty. The author was
Lisa Powell who worked at UMMC including a stint with Shock Trauma, the iconic institution that prides itself on the relationship it has with the law enforcement community.
The post led to a harsh response on social media, including a Facebook page that called for Powell's firing.
Rosedale train derailment (May 28) - Smoke could be seen from miles away, buildings were damaged and much of eastern Baltimore County wondered what happened following a trail derailment in Rosedale.
The derailment happened at about in the 7500 block of Lake Drive near the area of Pulaski Highway. The road was closed for several hours after the accident. Amazingly no one was killed following the accident, which occurred after John Alban Jr. crossed the tracks with a truck from his waste company.
Joce Sterman was one of several reporters that covered the story for ABC2 News.
"Being part of the breaking news coverage on this was extremely exciting," she said. "We saw this story develop quickly on social media and immediately went out to the scene. As soon as we got into the field a source gave us information about the trash truck driver who caused the train derailment.
"After hours working the phones with our contacts, ABC2 was the first to identify the driver. We continued following the story for days to come, starting by outlining problems with the trash carrier's company all the way to the release of the NTSB investigative report."
Towson cheerleading team accused of hazing (Aug. 29) – The Towson University cheerleading team was used to garnering positive headlines after winning a national championship. However that was not the case at the start of the school year when the team was accused of hazing.
Towson officials initially suspended the team for the entire academic school year. That punishment was altered a few weeks later. A school committee downgraded the University's ruling to social probation for the fall 2013 semester.
Under the new ruling, the team was allowed to practice but was not able to participate in university related event, exhibitions or appearances on- or off-campus. Additionally, the team had to complete a total of 650 community service hours.
Anne Arundel uniform company racking up complaints from across the country (July 29) - In July, ABC2 News first reported the massive number of complaints surrounding Sports55. The Severna Park-based apparel company has left a trail of unhappy customers across the country with people upset over orders not filled properly or not at all. Eventually, Sports55 changed its name and was banned from doing business at Fort George G. Meade.
"This story came to us as a tip from someone who's not even a Maryland resident," said Sterman, who broke the story. "He alerted us to problems with an Anne Arundel County sports uniform company and after we started digging we found a pattern of complaints with the Maryland Attorney General and Better Business Bureau. "
Local shops carry old tires as new (April 25) - ABC2 News delved into this issue that's been largely ignored, even though safety experts believe aging tires are a serious hazard. Sterman's investigation found many stores in the area were selling tires marked as new despite being several years old. There's no regulation at the state or federal level that says companies can't sell any age tire that hasn't been driven on as new.
"Looking into this issue shed light on a problem I wasn't aware of, and seeing 7-year-old tires being sold as new on local stores was a real eye opener," Sterman said. "This story was special because we didn't just provide information, we also gave people the tools they needed to check their own tires. We raised awareness about a potential danger and compelled people to take action on their own cars."