City man surrenders in crash that killed 3

Driver accused of having 0.18% blood-alcohol level

July 10, 2004|By Scott Waldman | Scott Waldman,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore man turned himself in to police yesterday to face vehicular manslaughter charges for a May traffic accident in Northeast Baltimore that sheared a Kia Sophia nearly in half and left three members of one family dead.

Michael William Anderson Jr., 31, of the 4300 block of Harford Road, was denied bail during a brief court hearing yesterday afternoon.

"I've never been in trouble in my life, and I don't plan on getting in trouble again," Anderson told a judge. His bail review hearing will resume Monday, when his defense attorney is expected to be present.

A Baltimore grand jury returned three indictments of vehicular manslaughter against Anderson on Wednesday. A conviction could carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

About 10 p.m. May 3, Anderson was driving a van at 80 mph south on Perring Parkway near Morgan State University, said prosecutor Sharon Holback. Anderson had been drinking since 4 p.m. that day, Holback said.

Anderson struck two other southbound vehicles near Belvedere Avenue, according to the account Holback presented. He continued south and struck an additional five cars parked near the school.

Holback said the van was briefly launched into the air before it smashed into the car carrying Evelyn Engram, 47; her 4- year-old granddaughter, Meechea Williams; and her 8-year- old great-nephew Dominick Fowlkes.

Engram and Williams died that night, and Fowlkes died about 24 hours later. Engram's fiance, Leonard Fox, 40, was also in the car. He was treated for injuries at a hospital and released.

Anderson, a Wal-Mart employee, was hospitalized for his injuries. He told police he had been drinking and was later found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent -- more than double the legal limit of 0.08 percent, Holback said.

An arrest warrant was not immediately issued for Anderson to give police time for the investigation, said Joseph Sviatko, a spokesman for the Baltimore state's attorney's office.

"It's been under review, under investigation until now," Sviatko said.

The investigation included an accident reconstruction and a toxicology report.

Anderson told Circuit Judge John M. Glynn that he grew up in Towson and loves the Orioles. He said that his father died when he was 5 and that his mother escorted him to Baltimore Police Department headquarters, where he turned himself in about 11 a.m. yesterday.

His only prior arrest was in 1995 on a public urination charge. Anderson did not answer when a judge asked him whether he thought he had a drinking problem.

In court yesterday, Anderson occasionally had tears in his eyes and periodically answered the judge's questions in a quivering voice.

"I'm sick about it," Anderson told the judge.

Anderson declined to answer a reporter's questions, and his lawyer did not return telephone calls yesterday afternoon.

Arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 30.

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