Manslaughter charges are dropped in van crash

January 20, 2007|By Andrea F. Siegel

Anne Arundel County prosecutors dropped manslaughter charges yesterday against Jason Robert Dehn, saying it is unclear whether he was driving the car that struck a van carrying dialysis patients, killing two of them.

Forensic analyses led to "contradictory results" about who was driving the 1993 Mercedes Benz that struck the van on Admiral Drive, said Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.

Police said that Dehn, 24, of Annapolis and Fontaine Pridgett, 46, of Arnold walked away from the Dec. 30 crash involving the Mercedes they were traveling in, police said. Authorities said Pridgett returned but that Dehn was found trying to hide near the county jail; police suspected that he was the driver and charged Dehn with two counts of manslaughter.

Dehn allegedly told police that Pridgett was the driver and that he fled because they lacked the owner's permission to take the Mercedes. Police also said the pair knew the brakes were faulty and that they appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Dehn has been jailed since his arrest Jan. 5 and continues to be held on a charge of violating probation. Pridgett has not been charged in the crash, which killed Mary A. Davis, 48, and Terry W. Wright Sr., 56, both of Annapolis.

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