Fatal car accidents are tragic enough, but when you throw in alcohol use the tragedy is even more difficult for a community to bear. There is no excuse for driving drunk, yet every day across Maryland and the rest of the country motorists from all walks of life get behind the wheel while intoxicated. The lucky ones never have a car accident, however many do and those car, turck and SUV crashes can be fatal. The saddest situations involve traffic deaths at the hands of a friend or relative.
As Maryland auto accident attorneys, I and my colleagues see this kind of scenario all too often. Recently I read of a fatal single-vehicle crash that took the life of a young high school student from Howard County, MD. That young man’s choice to ride with a driver who was allegedly drunk was the worst possible decision he could have made.
Based on news articles, 17-year-old River Hill high school student Steven Dankos was riding in the bed of a pickup truck in late November with the older brother of one of his best friends at the wheel, 22-year-old David Erdman. A third passenger was also with them, Erdman’s 17-year-old brother Thomas was riding inside the pickup, police said.
According to police reports, the accident occurred just before 3am on Folly Quarter Road at Buckskin Lake Drive when Erdman lost control of the vehicle and crashed into several ornamental stone pillars along the road.
The vehicle overturned as a result fo the crash, which caused Dankos to be thrown from the truck and land some distance from the impact site. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police did not know where the three were coming from or where they were headed. The accident report showed that Thomas Erdman was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center and later released to recover at home.
At the time of the news article, investigators were still trying to determine whether the two teenagers had been drinking and whether or not they knew the driver was impaired, as alleged by the police.
David Erdman was charged by Howard County police with driving under the influence, negligent manslaughter by motor vehicle and negligent homicide by motor vehicle. He was arrested after being released Sunday from Howard County General Hospital.
Driver of truck charged in accident that killed River Hill football player, BaltimoreSun.com, December 1, 2009