Woman pleads guilty in crash linked to alcohol

November 19, 2003|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore woman pleaded guilty yesterday to automobile manslaughter in an alcohol-related crash May 7 that claimed the life of a Glen Burnie man.

Amy Louise Kirkland, 38, will be sentenced Jan. 13 in the death of Keith Fleming, 71, of Glen Burnie. It is the third drunken driving charge for Kirkland, who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.20 -- almost three times the state's legal limit -- at the time of the crash.

According to the statement of facts read in court yesterday, Kirkland was driving north on Crain Highway about 2:30 p.m. on May 7 when she ran a red light and crashed into Fleming, who was attempting a left turn from Oak Manor Drive onto southbound Crain Highway.

Prosecutors said the impact of the collision pushed Fleming's van across the intersection into the left turn lane on southbound Crain Highway, where it crashed into another vehicle.

Kirkland was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and released with no serious injuries. Fleming and his wife, Alyce, who was riding in the front seat, also were flown to Maryland Shock Trauma and treated for severe head injuries. Keith Fleming was pronounced dead on June 8.

Prosecutors said Kirkland told police she had not been drinking before the accident, except for a few sips from a glass of orange juice mixed with vodka, which she said she mistook for juice. Kirkland also told police that she took Valium and Prozac the morning of the accident, and had been drinking the night before.

Assistant State's Attorney Shelly Stickell said she will seek the maximum sentence of five years for Kirkland.

The victim's wife, Alyce Fleming, wept silently during Kirkland's plea. Outside the courtroom, she said: "I'm glad she pled guilty, but my life will never be the same."

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