Police arrest Elkridge man in hit-and-run death of bicyclist

Charges come 5 months after December fatality


Howard County police have arrested an Elkridge man on charges stemming from a fatal hit-and-run accident in December.

Jeffrey L. Morris, 40, of the 8000 block of Keeton Way was charged with automobile manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident and driving while intoxicated in the death of Nick J. Prieto, 41, of Elkridge.

Prieto was riding a bicycle north along U.S. Route 1 near the entrance to the Baltimore Washington Commerce Industrial Park early Dec. 2 when he was struck by a car that kept going, according to court documents.

A truck driver found Prieto about 2 a.m. and called police. When police arrived, they saw Morris' 1989 Jeep Wrangler parked across Business Parkway, documents say.

Morris approached them while they were investigating and the officers suspected he was involved in the collision, the documents say.

Two hours later, police tested Morris and found he had a blood alcohol level of 0.15, over the legal limit of 0.10, documents say.

Morris told them that he had been drinking at a Route 1 bar and was traveling north when he saw reflectors on the road.

He said he hoped he hadn't hurt someone badly, according to the documents.

Prieto died two days later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore from head injuries sustained in the collision.

Authorities did not explain why they waited five months to charge Morris.

Morris' bail was set at $45,000 Friday. His trial is set for July 20.

Pub Date: 5/23/99

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