I-95 vehicular manslaughter trial begins

July 02, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The trial of a Baltimore man accused of driving drunk and killing an 18-year-old woman walking on the shoulder of Interstate 95 last August started yesterday in Howard County Circuit Court.

Donald S. Jackson, 35, a Defense Department employee, faces charges including manslaughter by vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident in the death of Monyneath Phorn of Arlington, Va.

Yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Christine Gage said Jackson had been drinking after playing golf before he drove north on I-95 about 11 p.m. Aug. 29. She said Jackson's car struck Phorn, who was walking along the side of the road with her boyfriend, and that Jackson drove two miles before stopping.

The boyfriend, Mark Watson, 23, who also was injured, struggled to find his girlfriend, who lay in the grass with a partially severed spine, prosecutors said.

"Whoever struck [Watson and Phorn] did not stop did not offer assistance," Gage said. The accident happened just south of Route 100.

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His attorney, Daniel H. Scherr, in brief opening statements, described Jackson as a "straight arrow." Scherr appeared to set up a defense focused on challenging the investigation of the accident.

Gage said that on the night of the accident, Jackson, carrying a cellular telephone, pulled over two miles up I-95 and ran to a state trooper's vehicle to report that a pedestrian may have been struck. Troopers noted the smell of alcohol on his breath and damage to his vehicle.

After Jackson was arrested, tests showed that his blood-alcohol level exceeded the legal limit, Gage said.

Pub Date: 7/02/98

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