Adult indicted in liquor buy

June 03, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A 25-year-old Mount Airy man has been indicted, accused of buying the malt liquor that police say contributed to a crash that killed three teen-agers in Carroll County nearly a year ago.

A three-count indictment returned late Wednesday by a Carroll County grand jury alleges that Milton Stanley Bowens Jr. bought a case of St. Ives malt liquor at a Mount Airy liquor store and gave it to two of eight teen-agers -- including the unlicensed driver -- who crammed into a stolen Toyota Corolla that, a few hours later, flipped over on Liberty Road near the Baltimore County line.

Mr. Bowens of the 1100 block of Shaffersville Road in Howard County was indicted on two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors and one count of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum five-year prison term.

Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, who said last year that his office would aggressively pursue anyone who gave alcohol to the teen-agers, would not comment on the indictment yesterday. A warrant for Mr. Bowens' arrest had not been served last night.

Arthur Simms, the father of Donny Eugene Simms, the Corolla's driver, and Donna Michelle Simms, one of the 15-year-old victims, welcomed news of the indictment.

"He knew then that it was wrong, and now he'll have to suffer the consequences," Mr. Simms said of Mr. Bowens yesterday from his Mount Airy home.

Mr. Simms and his family suffered a double tragedy in the wreck: Donna died instantly, and Donny later was convicted of automobile manslaughter.

Donny Simms is serving a year under house arrest and is completing 500 hours of community service. He will not be able to drive a car for three years.

The Simms siblings and six other teen-agers were in the Corolla when it crashed June 6 near a bridge on Liberty Road near Liberty Reservoir. Six of them were thrown onto the road as the car went out of control and flipped onto its roof.

Donna and best friends Dink Diggs of Mount Airy and Christopher Norris of Marriottsville, all 15, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Some of the teen-agers, including Donny Simms, had been drinking malt liquor, police said.

Donny Simms was behind the wheel because he and the other teen-agers in the car decided that he was the least drunk of the group, according to remarks his lawyer made when Donny pleaded guilty to three counts of automobile manslaughter in April. The car reached speeds of up to 110 mph before it crashed.

The new indictments charge that Mr. Bowens bought the malt liquor at Ridgeside Spirits in Mount Airy between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on June 5, 1993, and gave it to Donny and three other teen-agers shortly after that, the indictment said.

The indictment does not allege wrongdoing by the liquor store. Mr. Bowen did not work at the liquor store, the owner said.

Mr. Bowens' relationship to the teen-agers was unclear last night. But William T. Wood, Donny Simms' attorney, said Mr. Bowens worked at the amusement center that the teens went to the night before the crash.

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