Maryland Independent - - Com­mu­nity Fo­rum - Twit­ter: @De­jaSoMdNews

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the in­ci­dent re­vealed 53-year-old Smith, a Vir­ginia res­i­dent, hus­band and fa­ther of two, was at­tend­ing to a me­chan­i­cal is­sue of his dis­abled ve­hi­cle in broad day­light on the north­bound shoul­der of Route 5 in Wal­dorf. The im­pact of the col­li­sion caused Smith to be thrown into a sep­a­rate, grassy area.

Smith suf­fered from ex­ten­sive in­juries to his head and body, and ul­ti­mately suc­cumbed to his in­juries.

Moore was given a blood test which re­vealed a .05 blood al­co­hol level and the pres­ence of the pre­scrip­tion drug Lexapro. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded that the com­bi­na­tion of both sub­stances ren­dered her un­der the in­flu­ence and caused her to lose con­trol of the ve­hi­cle.

Moore had pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to driv­ing while im­paired by al­co­hol in Calvert County Dis­trict Court in 2013.

“This crime — killing some­one be­cause you’re un­der the in­flu­ence and choose to drive — is avoid­able,” said As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Sarah Free­man dur­ing sen­tenc­ing. “Ms. Moore made a con­scious, reck­less de­ci­sion in dis­re­gard of ev­ery other life on the road that day and Mr. Smith died be­cause of it. The state de­mands the court im­pose the max­i­mum sen­tence Ms. Moore can get.”

Prior to im­pos­ing his sen­tenc­ing on Moore, Charles County Cir­cuit Court Judge H. James West said, “I am con­fi­dent that it wasn’t Ms. Moore’s in­tent to hurt some­one — cer­tainly her in­tent was to drive — but a series of bad de­ci­sions brings us here. The good thing [for Ms. Moore’s fam­ily at least] is that they will one day get a call with a re­lease date — and can count­down un­til Ms. Moore will come home. The Smith fam­ily will get no such call.”

The court’s over­all sen­tence for the charge of neg­li­gent ve­hic­u­lar manslaugh­ter, was 10 years in­car­cer­a­tion with all but five years sus­pended. The de­fen­dant was placed on five years of su­per­vised pro­ba­tion upon her re­lease from prison with var­i­ous con­di­tions.

Com­ment­ing on the court’s sen­tence, Cov­ing­ton said in a press re­lease, “Even if the court gave this de­fen­dant the max­i­mum sen­tence of 10 years, it sim­ply would not be enough. I’ve said it many times be­fore and will con­tinue say­ing it un­til, as a so­ci­ety, we wake up. The statu­tory max­i­mum penal­ties for killing some­body while driv­ing drunk or drugged are ridicu­lously low. The po­ten­tial sen­tences sim­ply don’t de­ter the crime nor suf­fi­ciently pun­ish the killer. Con­se­quently, in Mary­land, a per­son is killed in a drunk driv­ing case ev­ery other day of the year. Na­tion­ally, ap­prox­i­mately 30 peo­ple are killed ev­ery sin­gle day. We need to se­ri­ously ad­dress this to­tally avoid­able epi­demic of death. Be­hav­ior-chang­ing sen­tenc­ing will make a huge dif­fer­ence.” Charles County to Do­min­ion’s Cove Point LNG ter­mi­nal.

The com­pres­sor sta­tion would have been built on a portion of a 50-acre par­cel of land ad­ja­cent to Bar­rys Hill Road owned by Do­min­ion.

A ma­jor­ity of the board of ap­peals board voted in March to deny Do­min­ion’s spe­cial ex­cep­tion ap­pli­ca­tion, cit­ing con­cerns about in­ad­e­quate emer­gency re­sponse ca­pa­bil­ity in the event of a nat­u­ral gas fire or ex­plo­sion. The board also said that it be­lieved Do­min­ion had not been forth­com­ing with in­for­ma­tion that would have ad­e­quately ad­dressed those con­cerns.

Through­out the spe­cial ex­cep­tion ap­pli­ca­tion process, Bryans Road and Moyaone Re­serve res­i­dents tes­ti­fied re­peat­edly about their con­cerns over the po­ten­tial health and safety risks posed by ex­haust emis­sions, in­ad­e­quate wa­ter pres­sure for fire­fight­ers and fre­quent flood­ing on Bar­rys Hill Road that could ham­per ac­cess to the site in an emer­gency.

Many ob­servers ex­pected the law­suit to fol­low the same course as a sim­i­lar suit filed by Do­min­ion against the town of My­ersville in Fred­er­ick County, which voted in 2012 to deny a spe­cial ex­cep­tion for the con­struc­tion of a sim­i­lar com­pres­sor sta­tion there.

As it did in its case against Charles County, Do­min­ion had ar­gued that a reg­u­la­tory doc­u­ment is­sued by the Fed­eral En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion called a Cer­tifi­cate of Pub­lic Con­ve­nience and Ne­ces­sity pre­empted lo­cal zon­ing or­di­nances.

In the My­ersville case, the court agreed with Do­min­ion that the FERC cer­tifi­cate took prece­dence and that con­struc­tion of the com­pres­sor sta­tion could pro­ceed.

But be­fore the case against Charles County ended up in a court­room, the Mount Ver­non Ladies’ As­so­ci­a­tion in Vir­ginia an­nounced it was launch­ing a cam­paign to op­pose the project, claim­ing that its tow­ers and the ex­haust plumes emit­ted by them would mar the view across the Po­tomac River from the Mount Ver­non man­sion.

Shortly af­ter the cam­paign was launched, Do­min­ion and MVLA en­tered con­fi­den­tial talks that led, al­most four months later, to last week’s sur­prise an­nounce­ment by Do­min­ion that it no longer in­tended to build the com­pres­sor sta­tion at the Bar­rys Hill Road site.

Nei­ther Do­min­ion nor MVLA have shared any sub­stan­tive de­tails of the dis­cus­sions with the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent or other me­dia out­lets, other than for MVLA to say that it ap­pre­ci­ated Do­min­ion’s “co­op­er­a­tive spirit” and its sup­port for MVLA’s preser­va­tion ef­forts.

Un­der the terms of the dis­missal, each of the par­ties in the suit will bear the costs in­curred since the fil­ing of the suit.

Twit­ter: @PaulIndyNews

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