Judge Orders Drunken Driver To Speak To Students

April 01, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

In what is thought to be the first sentence of its kind in the state, a county judge yesterday ordered an 18-year-old Ellicott City man to speak to students about the hazards of drunken driving as part of asentence for vehicular homicide.

David Andrew Walker pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter yesterday for his part in an Aug. 28 accident that killed a 22-year-old passenger in his car. His blood-alcohol level was .15 at the time of the accident. The legal limit in Maryland is .10.

As part of a plea agreement, District Judge R. Russell Sadler sentenced Walker to 33 days in a minimum security prison for drunken-driving offenders in Prince George's County and two days in the Howard County Detention Center. He will visit schools under the supervision of the Howard County Police Department to speak to students about the hazards of drunken driving.

Defense attorney Diane Schulte, a former District Court judge, said the sentence was the first of its type to be imposed in Maryland.

Walker was at the wheel of his Datsun 280-ZX sports car about 7:15 a.m. on Aug. 28 when it crossed the center line of Old Annapolis Road and collided with a Honda.

Killed was22-year-old Christopher Hope of Columbia, who was riding in the hatchback section of the Datsun. Walker and another passenger, Jeff Bradshaw, were treated for serious injuries at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The accident occurred in the 9700 block of Old Annapolis Road, on one of Columbia's most notorious curves.

Sadler imposed a five-year suspended sentence on Walker and ordered supervised probation for three years. Walker will pay $1,000 for his treatment at the DWI facility. The judge also ordered Walker to abstain from alcohol or drugs, attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings weekly, complete analcohol treatment program and attend a Mothers Against Drunk Drivingvictim-impact panel.

Walker apologized to a courtroom filled withHope's friends and family, as well as his own.

"I don't have muchto say except a deep apology for everyone involved and for affectingyou for the rest of your life," he said. "My greatest apology is to the Hope family for taking someone dear from them. I'm very sorry."

Walker's sentencing was preceded by two hours of emotional testimony from Hope's family, his priest and friends and Walker's family. Richard Barry Cohen, who was driving the Honda hit by Walker's car, testified about his injuries, which included a fractured kneecap.

Brian Hope, the victim's father, read a victim impact statement from his 15-year-old son Daniel.

"I think that no amount of jail time will ever bring him back or justify this, but we can't keep letting this happen."

His family spoke of the irony that Christopher was killed three miles from his home after traveling the world in the merchant marine and escaping Kuwait shortly before the Iraqi invasion.

"I will pray for you in the treatment facility to create your life anew, and not to get over this tragedy but to get through it," said Christopher's mother, Barbara Hope.

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