Charged in road death, man denies drag racing But he testifies he was speeding and drinking

November 02, 1997|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

A 36-year-old Glen Burnie man charged with manslaughter in the death of another driver on Route 100 last year testified Friday that he was speeding and drinking -- but not drag racing, as prosecutors claim.

Prosecutors in Anne Arundel Circuit Court argued that William Isenberg and Perry Waldvogel, 25, drove away after they caused the crash of a pickup truck near Marley Station.

Waldvogel's family later claimed that the car left damaged on the highway belonged to a member of the Waldvogel family, that it had been stolen earlier that night, Oct. 25, 1996, and was being driven by a thief, according to state police.

In fact, a theft did not occur, police said. According to court testimony, Isneberg was driving the car at the time of the accident.

Isenberg and Waldvogel are on trial, charged with vehicular manslaughter before Judge Martin Wolff. A verdict is expected this week.

Killed in the crash was Charles W. Miller, 31, of Pasadena, whose pickup truck flipped after it was hit.

Isenberg testified that he and his friend, Waldvogel, had been drinking at a raucous birthday party for Waldvogel's sister in Glen Burnie.

After a group of five people decided that things were getting too wild, they climbed into a pair of cars and Isenberg and Waldvogel drove off, according to Isenberg.

Isenberg's driver's license was suspended at the time, according to court testimony.

Isenberg said he was driving behind Waldvogel's car at 65 to 70 mph west on Route 100 -- which has a speed limit of 55 mph.

He testified that he was not drag racing with his friend -- merely hTC driving faster than the speed limit.

All of a sudden, Isenberg testified, he saw Waldvogel's car veer toward the right side of the road.

"When I turned back, there was a pickup truck halfway in my lane," Isenberg said. "Everything happened pretty quickly. I observed the truck in my lane and I immediately swerved to the left to avoid hitting the pickup truck."

Isenberg said he drove onto a grassy median, lost control of the car, swerved back onto the road and accidentally hit the pickup truck twice.

The truck crashed and rolled, according to police, killing Miller and seriously injuring his passenger, John Gamrod, 40, of Glen Burnie.

Isenberg and the others in his car left the scene in Waldvogel's car because the auto Isenberg had been driving was damaged, according to police.

When asked about his reaction after the accident, Isenberg testified: "I was very upset."

Waldvogel also testified that he swerved to avoid the pickup truck, but that he did not see the crash.

"I had to get out of the way to avoid the accident," said Waldvogel. "It happened just like that," he said.

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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