Man guilty in collision that left one dead

Crash in Glen Burnie killed man from Essex, 26

Evidence indicates alcohol use

July 07, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

In what the judge called a "difficult case," an Ellicott City man was convicted yesterday of negligent homicide while impaired in the death of a speeding motorist in Glen Burnie last summer.

Jamel Maurice Reid, 25, was convicted by Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge David S. Bruce of the charge and related violations in the crash that killed Francis David Buchacz, 26, of Essex on July 9.

Reid, who was presumed impaired in the crash because his blood-alcohol level was 0.07 percent, could receive up to three years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for September.

Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler said he will seek at least two years' incarceration, adding that tests indicated Reid had also smoked marijuana in the hours before the crash and that Reid was on probation for a drug conviction at the time.

Defense lawyer David W. Fischer said he will seek leniency because of the circumstances of the collision, which he said occurred partly because the the victim was driving at nearly twice the speed limit. "It's a close case, and we will probably appeal," he said.

Police said Buchacz was driving his Mercury Cougar east on Ordnance Road at a speed of at least 70 mph shortly after midnight. His blood-alcohol level was between 0.05 percent and 0.06 percent, Roessler said, indicating that he was not legally impaired.

The car left a 66-foot skid mark before colliding with a Jeep Liberty driven by Reid that was turning left onto southbound Route 10 at about 15 mph.

Buchacz was pronounced dead at the scene. Reid and his two passengers were thrown from from the Jeep and injured. Afterward, Roessler said, Reid screamed profanities at the dead driver.

Fischer argued that if the victim had not been driving so fast, his client would have been able to better judge the distance between the cars and decide whether to turn.

`A fair hearing'

Bruce rejected Roessler's request for an automobile manslaughter conviction, saying Reid's driving did not meet the legal standard for a conviction that carries a penalty of up to a decade in prison.

"He gave me a fair hearing, and I think it was a close call," Roessler said of the judge.

Probation unclear

It was unclear from the lawyers and court records whether Reid remains on probation from a 2000 drug distribution conviction.

Last August, his three years of supervised probation, and possibly an additional two years of unsupervised probation, was ordered to end. That was about a month after the fatal crash, but before Reid was charged in connection with it.

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