Drunken driver gets year in jail Had avoided incarceration in 1988 fatality

February 04, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer

A 27-year-old Carroll County man who avoided a jail term in 1988 after killing a friend while driving drunk was sentenced yesterday to the maximum one year in the Baltimore County Detention Center for another drunken-driving accident.

Because of a legal anomaly, Timothy M. Sadler of Millers avoided prosecution as a repeat drunken-driving offender, and a possible two-year sentence, said Deputy State's Attorney Howard B. Merker.

Sadler's 1988 drunken-driving charge was merged into the charge of homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated, so the October DWI charge did not count as a second offense, the prosecutor said.

Because of such cases, Mr. Merker said, prosecutors are asking judges not to merge or dismiss drunken-driving charges -- which could be considered lesser charges in fatal accident cases -- but to adjudicate them separately.

Sadler, of the 3600 block of Rockdale Road, pleaded not guilty yesterday. But Judge Barbara Jung convicted him after Mr. Merker read a statement of facts about the accident, which occurred Oct. 4 in the 20000 block of Gunpowder Road in northwestern Baltimore County.

Sadler was uninjured after crashing into a bridge while speeding in a truck, according to the statement of facts read in Owings Mills District Court. A breath test showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent. Under Maryland law, a reading of 0.10 percent is considered evidence of intoxication.

Judge Jung rejected a plea for another probation for Sadler, who acknowledged his alcoholism and apologized for his actions. "Did you listen to anything they told you" during alcohol treatment after the 1988 wreck? Judge Jung asked.

The fatal accident case did not come to court until October 1990. Sadler had completed his year's probation from that case at the time of the 1992 crash, but his license remained revoked.

Judge Jung imposed and suspended an additional one-year sentence for driving on the revoked license. She also fined Sadler a total of $140 for driving an unregistered vehicle and using tags assigned to another vehicle.

Because of another quirk, Sadler had a clean driving record by the time he went to court on the original fatal accident -- 2 1/2 years after it happened.

The Motor Vehicle Administration had already removed the 12 points it had put on Sadler's record because he had no intervening charges.

Prosecutors' protests to the MVA about this issue eventually led the agency to include the date of conviction on drivers' records, because points are counted from the date of the violation, Mr. Merker said.

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