Drinking and driving is one of the most common and most preventable causes of traffic accidents that modern society has faced. Deaths and injuries resulting from drunk drivers make the headlines of Maryland’s newspapers and local TV news programs more often than anyone would care to see.
Recently, a former high school football star from the River Hill school district was sentenced to a year and a half in jail after being convicted of a DWI-related traffic death late last year of a family friend. The accident happened in late November when now 23-year-old David Erdman was driving a 17-year-old friend, Steven Dankos, in his pickup truck in Howard County, Maryland.
A resident of Ellicott City, Edman pleaded guilty last May to negligent homicide as a result of driving while intoxicated. The charges stemmed from an early morning crash on November 30 when Erdman’s pickup hit several stone pillars. Dankos, who had been traveling in the bed of the pickup truck, was thrown from the vehicle to the ground. Police said that the vehicle was speeding at the time of the crash, which no doubt increased the severity of the accident.
According to news reports, Dankos, Erdman and Erdman’s younger brother had all been out on the road following a round of post-football-game parties when the vehicle ran veered off Folly Quarter Road and hit the obstruction. Police said that Erdman’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) reading following the crash was 0.21 percent — or almost three times Maryland’s legal limit. The three occupants had been drinking at parties, according to court documents, some of which had been held in homes where the teens’ parents allowed the drinking.
Erdman, who reportedly has already completed a 25-day outpatient alcohol abuse program, was sentenced to five years. However, the judge suspended all but 18 months of that sentence. Erdman will reportedly serve time in the Howard County Detention Center with the recommendation that he be considered for a work release program.
The case highlighted the fact that parents of the partiers had allowed underage teens to drink in their homes; certainly a senseless tragedy that may have been avoided if the adults in charge had been more responsible. Erdman shared the bulk of the blame as he reportedly could have accepted an offer from another friend to drive him and his friends home. , and she said the crash might not have happened at a lower speed. Police found the truck had been speeding on the rural roadway at the moment of the crash.
Former football star gets 18 months for drunk-driving death , BaltimoreSun.com, August 5, 2010