Driver guilty in death of boy, 11

Child was passenger

both were drinking at 1998 party

February 26, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Nearly two years after a party involving children using drugs and alcohol, a Gambrills man pleaded guilty yesterday to automobile manslaughter in a crash that killed the host's drunken 11-year-old son.

The plea agreement calls for Gregory D. Bostic, 21, to receive no more than one year in the Anne Arundel County jail when he is sentenced on May 2. Five related charges were dropped.

Killed in the April 26, 1998, accident was Eddie Cordova, a passenger in Bostic's car. His father, Edward E. Cordova, admitted last year to turning his homes in Odenton, Gambrills and Severn into havens for the parties. He was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of fondling a teen-age girl who attended one of the parties.

Bostic "has a great deal of remorse, a great deal of personal guilt. It is not something he took lightly," said defense attorney George S. Lantzas. "These folks were friends of his."

Lantzas said he wanted to avoid a long sentence that would send the young man to a state prison, where conditions are harsher. The maximum sentence for an automobile manslaughter conviction is 10 years.

The victim's sister and mother, who is divorced from Cordova, sat in the courtroom, but declined to comment. Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen E. Evans said that the boy's mother did not want to go through a trial and felt that the term of the plea "was something she could live with."

The plea agreement was accepted by Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth.

Bostic was at the Cordova home the day of the crash. How much alcohol Bostic drank that day was unknown, but he had at least some of a 40-ounce container of beer and his blood alcohol level nearly two hours after the crash was .05. A level of .1 is legally drunk.

Cordova denied contributing to his son's death. He supplied grain alcohol, beer and wine for the parties, and had the youths who frequented his house buy him marijuana by the pound.

The parties led to the near-fatal alcohol poisoning of one teen-ager and two other calls to paramedics to deal with youths who had alcohol overdoses.

Bostic left the Cordova home to take Eddie, Eddie's sister Adrienne and her friend to a 7-Eleven, but detoured to try to get airborne while rounding a dangerous curve on a hill on Chesterfield Road in Gambrills that is known as "the End of the World."

The speed limit there is 35 mph, with a recommended 20 mph on the hilly curve. Police estimated the speed of Bostic's westbound car at between 54 and 61 mph when it was airborne, said Evans.

Bostic lost control when the vehicle landed. It crossed the road, smacked into a tree and rolled over. None of the occupants was wearing a seat belt, and Eddie, ejected from the rear seat of the car, was killed, Evans said.

At that time, the boy had enough alcohol in his system to be considered legally drunk. Marijuana and tranquilizers also were in his system, according to information in Cordova's case.

Bostic had had his driver's license for five days at the time, but had accumulated five points on it for driving without a license and for unsupervised driving on a learner's permit.

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