Boy, 16, to face trial as adult

November 21, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A Carroll County judge has denied the request of a 16-year-old Mount Airy boy charged with three counts of automobile manslaughter to have his case moved back to juvenile court.

Judge Francis M. Arnold last week left unchanged his Sept. 24 order that transferred the case against Donny Eugene Simms to the adult court system.

"The court has concluded that its determination that [Donny Simms] is unfit for rehabilitative measures in the Juvenile Court was correct," the judge wrote in an order filed late Thursday afternoon.

In addition to the automobile manslaughter charges, the South Carroll High School student faces three charges of homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated, and charges of felony theft, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated and speeding.

If he is convicted, he could be sent to state prison for more than 45 years.

Eight teen-agers were in a stolen car when it crashed June 6 near a bridge on Liberty Road near the Liberty Reservoir. Six were thrown onto the two-lane road as the eastbound car went out of control and flipped onto its roof.

Dead at the scene were best friends Dink Diggs of Mount Airy and Christopher Norris of Marriottsville, and Donny Simms' sister, Donna, all 15.

Some of the teens had been drinking before the accident.

Donny Simms made the request to have his case remanded to juvenile court last month. In that request, his attorney wrote that the Simms youth "is not a threat to the public safety" and "should not be sacrificed to . . . be used as an example to society."

The attorney, William T. Wood of Rockville, could not be reached Friday for comment.

In his argument against moving the case back to juvenile court, Deputy State's Attorney Edward M. Ulsch wrote that Donny Simms is not "a fit subject for the juvenile system."

He also argued that the circumstances surrounding the accident were tragic and warranted the punishment available in the adult court system.

"The risk to the public safety is potentially devastating should he choose to engage in similar drinking and driving," Mr. Ulsch wrote. "The state is not willing to risk one more human life to this defendant's demonstrated irresponsible behavior."

In accounts confirmed by state police, two survivors of the crash told The Sun that the Simms youth was driving the Toyota Corolla at speeds up to 110 mph.

Mr. Ulsch declined to comment on Judge Arnold's decision yesterday.

Two other youths also were charged in the crash, but Donny Simms is the only one whose case is going to trial.

Anthony Antonio Liason and Danny Barnes, both of Gaithersburg, were placed on probation in September by a juvenile court master and were ordered to perform community service. Each had been charged with felony auto theft and alcohol possession.

Donny Simms' case is expected to go to trial April 5 in Carroll Circuit Court.

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