Drug addict convicted for car crash that killed elderly Pikesville man

January 24, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A 23-year-old drug addict who drove with a revoked license for four years was convicted yesterday on charges including automobile manslaughter in a head-on crash that killed an elderly Pikesville electrician last year.

The victim, Milton Stuck, 78, was the father-in-law of Beverly Dearing-Stuck, a Maryland Shock Trauma Center nurse who helped create programs there showing young people the lTC medical consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Travis Jacob Coker of the 2800 block of Guilford Ave. in Baltimore had no alcohol in his blood July 6 when his southbound truck was speeding on the wrong side of Park Heights Avenue Extended near Caves Road and hit Mr. Stuck's car, tests revealed.

But he admitted to police the next day that he is a drug addict, and traces of marijuana and heroin were found in his urine, according to testimony at his trial yesterday before Baltimore County Circuit Judge Christian M. Kahl.

Judge Kahl found Coker guilty of automobile manslaughter, driving under the influence of drugs, and four lesser traffic charges. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the manslaughter conviction. Prosecutor Timothy M. Gunning said Maryland guidelines call for a term of eight to 10 years.

Coker was ordered held without bail pending sentencing in March after Mr. Gunning noted that the defendant had just returned to the United States from the Virgin Islands.

Mr. Gunning told the judge that since 1989, Coker had been convicted five times of speeding, and once each of driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, and negligent driving. In addition, he failed to appear in court numerous times, had his license revoked in 1991 and is awaiting trial in Baltimore on a drunken driving charge lodged in May.

Defense lawyer Gill Cochran argued that Coker was not guilty of manslaughter because the state did not confirm the initial results of the urine test with a second test, and because Coker's blood was tested for alcohol, not drugs.

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