Maryland parents might agree that one of the only things worse than losing a child is being accused of killing that child. One father is living this nightmare after an accident that occurred in Nov. 2013. Authorities charged the man with involuntary manslaughter in connection with his son's death.
The 28-year-old father and his then 3-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son were traveling northbound on Interstate 95 at the time of the single-car accident. Law enforcement officials say the man drifted off the road around mile marker 39. The driver then over corrected, which caused the vehicle to careen off the road, where it slammed into some trees.
The man's son suffered severe injuries in the wreck to which he succumbed. Fortunately, his young daughter only suffered minor injuries. He, however, suffered serious injuries and was taken to an area hospital for treatment. Those injuries were not considered to be life threatening, and it is unknown how long he remained hospitalized.
In addition to the manslaughter charge related to the death of his son, the grieving father faces charges of child abuse and DWI. It is unclear if a breath test, field sobriety tests or blood tests were administered in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. While the details of the charges were not provided, a DWI in Maryland (as opposed to higher level offenses for driving under the influence) is typically charged when an individual's blood alcohol content is .07, as per Maryland Transportation Code Section 21-902 (2013). The statute does provide for officer discretion in assessing the circumstances prior to making such a formal charge.
It will be up to prosecutors to prove that this tragedy is something more than an unfortunate accident. If there is reasonable doubt that the accused man is guilty of DWI, that charge must not stand. If prosecutors cannot substantiate that charge, the aggravated involuntary manslaughter charge may be difficult to prove if the DWI allegation was the sole basis for elevating the involuntary manslaughter charge to an aggravated level. A review of the evidence prosecutors intend to present to the court will help this man's criminal defense team prepare an appropriate and vigorous defense to the charges.
Source: nbc12.com, "Man charged in Prince George crash that killed 7-year-old", , April 4, 2014