Whenever we ride with others in a motor vehicle we place great faith in the abilities and judgment of the driver. For most of us, we cannot imagine that a close friend, business acquaintance or family member would ever put our life in jeopardy, much less his or her own. And yet every day across this country individuals are killed or maimed by the negligence of someone they know and trust.
As Baltimore auto accident attorneys and Maryland personal injury lawyers, we know that the seemingly inconsequential decision to get into a passenger car or climb onto the back of a motorcycle with a friend or relative can sometimes turn out to be a life-changing event. These kinds of road accidents can result in injuries ranging from minor cuts, bruises and abrasions, to more serious broken legs and arms, neck injuries and life-threatening closed-head trauma.
Not long ago, three people died in a single-car accident along a stretch of road in Olney when a James Madison University student somehow lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree. According to news reports, Kevin Coffay was arrested by police following the crash and charged on four felony counts.
The 20-year-old JMU junior reportedly was charged with failure to remain at the scene of an injury accident and failure to immediately stop at the scene of a fatal accident, among others. All tolled, the man could end up facing more than 10 years in prison as a result fo the crash.
Based on police reports, the accident occurred around 3am on a Sunday morning in Montgomery Co. Coffay was reportedly driving eastbound on Olney-Laytonsville Rd. when his Toyota Corolla, carrying four other passengers, left the road for some reason. The car subsequently crashed into a couple trees and a utility pole.
As a result of the collision, one of the passengers, 18-year-old Spencer Datt, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. Two others, 20-year-old John Hoover and 18-year-old Haeley McGuire were transported to local hospitals but were pronounced dead not long afterward. The fourth passenger, Charles Nardella, 19, survived with non-life-threatening injuries.
Coffay reportedly fled from the crash site but was located about three hours later by police. Officers who questioned the suspect stated that Coffay had been at two separate parties prior to the accident. Police also said that he smelled of alcohol at the time of his arrest. According to reports, Coffay was admitted to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries and later jailed pending trail. Bond was set at $500,000.
Three Killed in Maryland Crash, WHSV.com, May 16, 2011
JMU student driver arrested after car crash in Maryland, BreezeJMU.org, May 15, 2011
Two teens, 20-year-old killed when car crashes into tree in Olney, BaltimoreSun.com, May 16, 2011