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.