Teen driver in fatal crash put on home monitoring Case could move to adult court

June 29, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A 16-year-old Mount Airy youth, who was driving a stolen car in which three teen-agers died in a June 6 crash in Carroll County, was released yesterday from a juvenile center on electronic home monitoring.

Carroll Juvenile Master Peter M. Tabatsko placed Donny Eugene Simms on the home monitoring yesterday while the youth waits to see whether three charges of automobile manslaughter against him will be moved to Carroll Circuit Court from the state's juvenile system.

In addition, the youth faces charges of auto theft, driving without a license, reckless driving and alcohol possession as a juvenile.

"The most amazing thing to me is the outpouring of community support for this young man," the teen-ager's attorney, William T. Wood of Rockville, said of the Juvenile Court hearing in Westminster yesterday.

"There were more than 50 people there, and not just people -- ministers, family members, parents of the children who were killed in the accident."

The Simms youth had been held at the Charles W. Hickey School in Parkville since June 6, when the stolen Toyota Corolla he was driving at speeds up to 110 mph, according to police, crashed near a bridge on


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Liberty Road near Liberty Reservoir.

Eight teen-agers -- a brother and sister, cousins and best friends -- were in the car when it crashed. Six of them were thrown onto the two-lane roadway as the eastbound car went out of control and flipped onto its roof.

When the car came to rest in the westbound lane, three of the teens -- 15-year-old best friends Dink Diggs of Mount Airy and Christopher Norris of Marriottsville, and Donny's 15-year-old sister, Donna -- were dead.

The five survivors were sent to hospitals in Baltimore and in Baltimore and Carroll counties.

Melissa "Missy" Costley and Angela Nichole "Nikki" Costley -- 15-year-old sisters from Gaithersburg -- spent days in the Maryland Shock Trauma Center with severe head and leg injuries.

Tony Liason, 17, and Danny Barnes, 16, both cousins of Donna and Donny Simms and both of Gaithersburg, were treated at area hospitals. They, too, face charges of auto theft and alcohol possession that stem from the accident.

Danny has been on home detention since June 7.

Anthony could be released from the Hickey School after a July 7 hearing before Master Tabatsko.

All of the teen-agers were drinking malt liquor in Mount Airy before they rode down Liberty Road, police and two of the crash survivors told The Sun.

The car in which they were riding had been stolen June 4 from a Maryland Commuter Rail parking lot in Gaithersburg.

The teen-agers had been at a dance at the Putt N' Fun in Mount Airy the night of June 5 when they decided to drive to Randallstown. On the way, the Simms youth sped past two state troopers.

He lost control of the car near the first bridge over Liberty Reservoir about two miles west of the Balti

more County line.

Mr. Wood said yesterday that the Carroll state's attorney's office had not filed a petition to have the case moved to the adult court system.

Assistant State's Attorney Erin Danz, who argued against releasing the Simms youth yesterday, did not return phone calls later. Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman referred questions to Ms. Danz.

Among those at yesterday's hearing were Patsy Stallings, Dink Diggs' mother; Bonnie Costley, the mother of Missy and Nikki; and Janet Barnes, Danny's mother.

All of them, Mr. Wood said, "wanted to see Donny released."

Mr. Wood said he had received more than 100 responses to letters he wrote to the 200 people who attended Donna Simms' funeral.

"Everybody who has written is totally supportive of Donny," he said. "This is really amazing, the way the community is pulling behind him."

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