Accident victim sees driver sentenced BALTIMORE CITY

February 10, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Kim Boyce had a reason to be pleased with the four-month jail sentence given yesterday to the man who drove while drunk and ran her down on a Canton street.

"I'm happy with it because that's how long I was in jail myself," the 22-year-old Towson woman said.

Ms. Boyce, who lost part of her right leg after being pinned between two cars, was talking about her hospital stay.

Earlier, she'd told the sentencing judge: "The four months I spent in that hospital, I don't think anyone can express the pain and suffering I went through along with my family. I'd rather go to jail than go through that."

Brian Lee Yeager, the 21-year-old machinist who crashed into Ms. Boyce, was found guilty of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving during a hearing yesterday in Baltimore District Court on Wabash Avenue. Judge T. Shelton Price sentenced the Dundalk man to a year in jail with all but four months suspended and ordered him to pay $1,500 in fines.

Judge Price also placed Yeager on three years' supervised probation and ordered him to accept alcohol treatment and an alcohol restriction on his driver's license upon release.

"This case represents a tragedy of immense proportion. It's a tragedy for Miss Boyce and a tragedy for Mr. Yeager," the judge said before passing sentence.

The sentencing came seven months after that rainy night on Boston Street in Southeast Baltimore. Ms. Boyce had been hired to work as a "Cold Patrol Girl," handing out key chains promoting beer in a nearby bar. She had just collected the trinkets from a station wagon when she was struck by a car driven by Yeager. Her right leg was crushed. She nearly died.

With a television news camera capturing the scene, the suspect struggled through a series of field sobriety tests and was arrested.

After a postonement in September, the case came to trial in December. But it was anything but a smooth case for the prosecution.

Assistant State's Attorney Alex Yankelove wanted to show the videotape made by the TV news crew, but defense attorney Leonard H. Shapiro convinced the judge to reject the tape as evidence because the prosecution had failed to present a witness to say whether it had been edited.

Also, although his client was found to have a blood alcohol level of .11 percent -- above the legal limit for intoxication of .10 percent -- Mr. Shapiro successfully argued that his client could not be legally presumed to have been drunk because police failed to meet a requirement to test him within two hours.

Finally, after the prosecutor had rested his case, Mr. Shapiro raised a new issue: He said the citation given to Yeager charged driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs as a single crime. Thus, he said, Yeager should be acquitted because the state had to prove all the elements to gain a conviction and no evidence of drug use had been presented.

Judge Price adjourned the December hearing to allow prosecutors to come up with an answer to Mr. Shapiro's argument. Ms. Boyce, accompanied by a dozen friends and relatives, left the courtroom in tears, frustrated at the delay.

When the trial resumed yesterday, Judge Price denied Mr. Shapiro's motion for acquittal, ruling that the charging document did not require the state to prove all the elements. After Yeager chose not to testify or otherwise present witnesses, the judge found him guilty.

The trial then moved to the sentencing phase during which Mr. Shapiro said his client was a remorseful first offender who deserved to be placed in a home detention program rather than jail. He said the defendant was evaluated as a "social drinker" and was diagnosed as suffering from depression since the accident.

Then it was Ms. Boyce's turn to speak.

"I just think there's got to be something to show other people not to do this," she said. "[How can] you tell your 9-year-old and 6-year-old little sisters that the person who hit you isn't going to jail and let them learn that?"

Yeager was ordered to begin serving his sentence immediately. The judge set a $20,000 appeal bond, but Mr. Shapiro said he was unsure whether the case would be appealed to the Circuit Court.

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