Driver pleads guilty to manslaughter charge, reckless endangerment in rock-throwing death Harwood man admits role as passenger's accomplice in attack on motorist

March 05, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

An 18-year-old Harwood man admitted in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday his role in a rock-throwing incident April 3 that killed a father of three as he was driving home from work.

William M. Donley of the 4500 block of Owensville Sudley Road pleaded guilty to manslaughter and reckless endangerment for driving his car while an accomplice threw a rock from it, causing the crash that killed Kevin Michael Gallagher, 38.

Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. set sentencing for April 19.

Donley was driving his Chevrolet Corsica west along Bay Front Road in Deale shortly after 9: 30 p.m. when Jason Wayne Wyvill leaned out of a passenger-side window and hurled a baseball-sized rock at Mr. Gallagher's Dodge Dakota truck, smashing its windshield.

The 5-pound rock crashed through the left side of the windshield at about head level. The truck careened into trees near Solomons Island Road.

Wyvill, 17, of the 200 block of Lyons Creek Mobile Estates in Lothian was sentenced to eight years by Judge Thieme on Feb. 12 after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter for throwing the rock.

Assistant State's Attorney Warren W. Davis III, who prosecuted both cases, said that as part of the plea agreement, he will recommend that Donley be sentenced to no more than a 10-year term.

"It doesn't matter that one actually threw the rock, legally they're both equally responsible," he said.

Mr. Gallagher, a contractor from Deale, is survived by his wife, Lori Gallagher, and three children, Daniel, 9, Wesley, 6, and Dylan, 4.

Mrs. Gallagher said the sentences were too light for those who killed her husband. she has a difficult time accepting such a relatively light sentence for those who killed her husband. It makes it difficult for her to explain to her children about right and wrong, she said. "It's not like this was a childish prank because they kept doing it and doing it to other cars," Mrs. Gallagher said.

"They killed somebody here."

In the days after the accident, police set up roadblocks in the area, questioned more than 1,000 motorists and distributed fliers asking the public for information.

But the pair was not arrested until two months later, when Wyvill's former girlfriend called police and said that the youth, who was in a drug treatment center in Virginia, told her he threw the rock.

Both Donely Donley and Wyvill were indicted by an Anne Arundel County grand jury on 36 counts of reckless endangerment, malicious destruction of property, assault and conspiracy charges for throwing rocks at 11 cars and trucks before Wyvill targeted Mr. Gallagher's truck, according to court records.

Wyvill and Donley also initially were both charged with second-degree murder, which carries a 30-year maximum sentence.

Pub Date: 3/05/96

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