Driver charged in death of 16-year-old

Cecil man was drunk and his license was suspended, police say

January 07, 2001|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

A 24-year-old Cecil County man who was charged with auto manslaughter and drunken-driving offenses after his car struck and killed a 16-year-old boy along U.S. 1 last week had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the state's threshold for drunken driving and was driving on a suspended license, state police said.

Court records show that Gregory Kirk Riley of the 300 block of Conowingo Road had been charged with several speeding offenses last year. The 1998 Mustang he was driving when he fatally struck Jason Matthew Carter Thursday night was uninsured and had expired license plates, according to District Court records.

State police said they measured Riley's blood alcohol level at 0.19 percent after the accident. A 0.10 percent blood alcohol level is the threshold for charging a motorist with driving while intoxicated in Maryland.

Riley lost control of his car on U.S. 1 about two miles northeast of the Susquehanna River and the Cecil-Harford County line, and hit two telephone poles, splitting one in half, before striking Jason, who was walking along the shoulder of the road with a friend, police said.

Riley was being held last night at the Cecil County Detention Center in Elkton in lieu of $12,000 bond.

Jason, his friend, Jeremy Lee Thomas, and Riley all lived on rural Conowingo Road, a portion of U.S. 1.

Yesterday, Jason's mother, Hilde Carter, made funeral arrangements for her son. The Rising Sun High School sophomore would have turned 17 on Feb. 18.

"I hope this person stays in jail for a long, long time," said Carter, who placed a cross decorated with roses at the site of the accident.

"This was my son who died," she said. "I had to go and buy a coffin for him."

Carter said she picked up her son at 9:20 p.m. Thursday from his dishwashing job at Spready Oaks restaurant.

After he got home, she said, Jason's friend Jeremy arrived, and they left to walk the quarter-mile to Jeremy's house. As they often did, the two friends planned to spend the night there and take the bus to school together the next morning.

"They had walked the road many times, and I never gave it a second thought," Carter said.

Less than five minutes after Jason had left, his mother said, she received a call from Jeremy telling her to come down the road immediately.

"I saw the smashed-up car and I was yelling, `Where's Jason?'" she said. "Then I saw people standing by something, and it was Jason. I was afraid to touch him because I thought I was going to hurt him."

Jason's brother, Shawn Carter, 18, said his mother slapped Riley in the face at the accident scene.

Jason's death comes as Maryland legislative leaders prepare to debate tougher drunken-driving laws. Proposals include lowering the state's standard for driving while intoxicated from a blood-alcohol content from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.

Services for Jason are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at R. T. Foard Funeral Home, 111 S. Queen St., Rising Sun.

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