College student, 21, pleads guilty in fatal car accident

Sentencing process irks victim's loved ones

February 10, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie college student tearfully pleaded guilty Friday to automobile manslaughter in a drunken-driving accident in June that led to the death of a Northeast High School student.

Under terms of the plea agreement by Jamie Newman, 21, a Salisbury University junior, Anne Arundel County prosecutors will seek a prison term of up to four years, as well as probation and community service, though Newman may ask Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck for less. The maximum sentence for automobile manslaughter is 10 years.

The May 29 sentencing date was the latest event related to the accident to upset the family of 15-year-old Christina Fisher of Pasadena, who died in the head-on crash June 30. The delay in sentencing also disappointed Fisher's boyfriend, Seth Engle, 21, of Stevensville, who was injured, and his family. The date could have been earlier, but it allows Newman to complete the college semester, which Fisher's family said is an affront.

Newman's lawyer, Peter S. O'Neill, said the plea was expedited because of the agreement reached with the prosecutor.

Newman had left her boyfriend's home when she turned her car heading north into the southbound lanes of Fort Smallwood Road, said Assistant State's Attorney Shelley A. Stickell. It struck the southbound car driven by Engle in which Fisher was a passenger. Newman's blood alcohol level was 0.17, well over the presumption of impairment.

"She is going through her everyday living while I'm going through this anguish," said Carol Wilson, Fisher's mother.

Stickell said she sought an earlier sentencing date, but Manck agreed with O'Neill.

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