Glen Burnie man, 20, gets 18 months in crash

Drunken-driving accident killed Elkridge woman, 23

July 17, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie man was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in jail followed by a year of house arrest for driving drunk into the path of an oncoming car last fall and killing its driver, an Elkridge woman who was to have been married next week.

Christopher Michael Rider, 20, expressed remorse for the Oct. 11 crash that killed Lisa Michelle Foster, 23, telling Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck that he hopes "Lisa Foster's friends and family can forgive me one day."

Dozens of relatives and friends of Foster wept during the hearing. The victim's mother, Audrey Foster, said that she barely sleeps at night, and that when she does, she replays the fatal crash in her mind and wakes up hoping it was a nightmare.

Friends described the victim as a delightful woman who contributed to her mother's retirement fund, was a doting godmother, volunteered with at-risk girls, and enjoyed gatherings with friends and family.

Rider reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit, at the time of the crash.

According to witnesses, Rider's vehicle repeatedly crossed the double yellow line to pass cars on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and may have topped 80 mph in an area zoned for 30 mph in the northern section of the county, said Assistant State's Attorney Shelly Stickell.

"No sentence will ever be enough for me. No penalty will bring my sister back," Christy Staruk, the victim's sister, said after the sentencing. Still, she said, she was satisfied that Rider was being punished. "I want him to always think of my sister, every day."

Defense attorney George Lantzas said his client's background was at odds with the fatal crash's circumstances. Rider was an honor roll graduate of Lansdowne High School, a volunteer Catholic Youth Organization coach and a hard worker who lost his job in the aftermath of the crash.

Manck sentenced Rider to 10 years -- the maximum for manslaughter -- and suspended all but 18 months of it. He added five years of supervised probation, the first of which is to be under house arrest.

He also included substance-abuse counseling and 100 hours of community service, in which Rider must speak to groups about drunken driving. Before he drives again, his vehicle must be equipped with a device designed to prevent a car from operating when a driver is intoxicated.

The judge also ordered Rider to carry a wallet-sized photo of the victim.

Foster, a Howard High School graduate, overcame scoliosis to be an outstanding first-baseman on area softball teams.

She worked her way through college to become a teacher and, most recently, was hired to work as a teaching assistant at Dunloggin Middle School in Ellicott City to support her goal of earning a master's degree in education.

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