Man pleads guilty in road deaths

January 07, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A 24-year-old Edgewood man pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to manslaughter in the deaths of two people, one of them an 11-year-old boy, who were killed in a head-on collision on the Baltimore Beltway near Edgemere last August. He was drunk at the time.

Sean Patrick Hall of the 800 block of Cloverleaf Court pleaded guilty to two counts of automobile manslaughter and one count of driving while intoxicated.

Judge Christian M. Kahl scheduled sentencing for March 5 and ordered a presentence investigation.

When he is sentenced, Hall could receive prison terms of 10 years each on the manslaughter counts. Driving while intoxicated carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

In 1989, Hall received probation before judgment for driving while intoxicated. He completed the probation in 1991.

Judge's Kahl's small courtroom was crowded with weeping members of Hall's family and the family of the two victims, Jerome Robert Barrett, 39, of Wild Flower Court, near Parkville, and his nephew, James N. "Jimmy" Cianos III, of Sykesville.

According to a statement of facts, Mr. Barrett was driving south near the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge at about 2:30 a.m., en route to Ocean City with his wife, Evelyn "Fran" Barrett, 38, and his nephew, when their 1985 Mitsubishi pickup and Hall's 1991 Toyota pickup collided head-on.

The Barrett pickup then slammed into a concrete barrier and caught fire, said Assistant State's Attorney John P. Cox. Mrs. Barrett helped to pull her husband and nephew from the flaming wreckage, but both died at the scene.

Hall was tested at Francis Scott Key Medical Center several hours after the accident and registered blood-alcohol levels of 0.156 percent and 0.14 percent -- translating to about 0.17 percent at the time of the accident, said Mr. Cox. The state standard for drunken driving is 0.10 percent.

A witness who was driving north behind Hall said the pickup crossed the center line and plunged into the southbound lane. Hall did not brake or swerve when the Barrett vehicle appeared, the witness said.

Judge Kahl agreed to continue Hall's $25,000 bail after defense attorney Robert Stange noted that Hall had posted his house, has been working steadily as a mechanical engineer for Chemetals Inc. and has not been driving or drinking since the accident.

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