Man charged in liquor buy

He's accused of making purchase for teens before Carroll crash

March 20, 2006|By NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON | NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON,SUN REPORTER

A Gamber man was charged with 10 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child in connection with a car crash that left two teens dead last fall, state police said yesterday.

According to an investigation by state police, Cory Lee Slemaker, 22, of the 3900 block of Sykesville Road is accused of purchasing alcohol for a group of teens in exchange for $10 several hours before the Sept. 5 accident.

The accident happened about 1:40 a.m. as five juveniles were traveling east on Slasmans Road in Finksburg in a 1998 Jeep Wrangler. The driver, who was charged with manslaughter in December, lost control of the vehicle while rounding a sharp curve and struck a large tree. One back-seat passenger was thrown from the vehicle and two others in the back seat were partially thrown, police said.

Zachary David Ondrish of Westminster and Keith Michael Flem of Pine Hill, N.J., both 16, died at the scene. Two other passengers - Kevin Michael Redmond of Finksburg and Matthew Ryan Wood, who lives near Smallwood in Carroll County - were injured in the crash.

The driver, whose name has not been released because he was a juvenile at the time of the accident, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 percent, police said. The Jeep was traveling 39 mph in a 25 mph zone, police estimated; none of the passengers was wearing a seat belt. A relative of one of the passengers said the teens were on their way to get something to eat at the time of the accident.

Cathy Ondrish, the mother of Zachary Ondrish, said yesterday the charges are part of a broader issue. "I think it's a very serious thing, giving alcohol to minors," Ondrish said in a telephone interview. "I just feel that there need to be stiffer penalties for people who drink and drive. People take the risk to drink and drive because the punishment is not that severe."

Slemaker was served with a criminal summons Saturday, police said. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a possible fine of $2,500.

David P. Daggett, deputy state's attorney for Carroll County, said that last year about a dozen adults were charged with purchasing alcohol for minors in the county.

"If we find out that somebody over the age of 18 is buying alcohol for somebody under 18, we charge them," he said.

In February, a New Windsor woman was sentenced to six months in jail for providing alcohol to minors involved in a fatal car accident in March 2005 near Westminster, Daggett said.

nia.henderson@baltsun.com

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