Hit-and-run suspect claims alibi

Owner of car that killed Towson student says he was victim of carjacking

October 16, 2007|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,sun reporter

Articles published Monday and Tuesday about a car accident that claimed the life of a Towson University freshman might have created confusion about when he died. Kevin Ryan was declared dead Saturday, according to a Sinai Hospital spokeswoman, but doctors kept him on life support until Sunday so his organs could be donated. Also, his age was incorrectly reported in one of the articles. He was 18.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The man charged in the hit-and-run death of a Towson University freshman denied being involved in an accident - and told police that his vehicle had been taken in a carjacking, court records show.

Matthew David Miller, 25, of the Loch Raven Heights area of Baltimore County, called police shortly after the student was struck to say that his vehicle had been stolen by three black men, according to District Court charging documents. After being arrested, Miller continued to deny that he had crashed his car - although a police officer saw pieces of glass on the man's clothing, the court documents show.

Miller has been charged with a dozen criminal or traffic offenses, including driving under the influence and failing to remain at the scene of an accident, in the Friday morning collision. The victim, Kevin Ryan, 19, died Saturday.

A vigil for Ryan, who was studying finance, was organized by Towson University Student Government Association and is planned for Thursday.

Ryan, a graduate of Atholton High School in Columbia, had been walking home from a friend's house when a car went out of control, jumped a curb on Hillen Road near Goucher Boulevard and hit him, police said. He was thrown across several lanes of traffic and was hit by a second car as he lay in the street. The second driver was not charged.

Police said that shortly after the accident Miller called 911 to report a carjacking. He met officers about a half-mile from the accident scene, according to the court papers filed by police. In completing a written statement about the alleged carjacking, Miller scratched out sections and made several corrections, according to the court papers.

His car, a black 2002 Subaru WRX, was found by police about two blocks from where Miller met the officers. The car had damage, including a cracked windshield, consistent with the crash involving Ryan, police said in the court documents.

An officer asked Miller if he had been in an accident and he said no, according to the charging documents. But police said in the papers that bits of glass were visible on his shirt and pants. And, police wrote, "His attitude was cocky and belligerent."

Miller's blood-alcohol level was 0.13 percent nearly four hours after the accident, which occurred about 2 a.m. Friday, according to court records. A person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher is considered to be driving while intoxicated. He was released on $50,000 bond.

The most serious charge - causing life-threatening injuries while driving under the influence of alcohol - carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Prosecutor Allan J. Webster said he will review the case during the next several weeks to determine whether felony charges should be filed.

Miller was charged with marijuana possession in 2005 but the case was dismissed by prosecutors last year, court records show.

Miller did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.

Ryan, who had recently chosen to be an organ donor, was kept alive by doctors at Sinai Hospital until Saturday, when matches were found for his heart and kidneys.

"He was well-liked and well-connected on the campus in a very short time," said Carol Dunsworth, director of university relations.

More than 60 tributes to Ryan were posted on the social networking Web site Facebook, and more than 730 people had joined a group created in Ryan's memory.

"It's so hard to write something right now and put my feelings into actual words," wrote one friend. "We grew up together. From soccer and baseball with the guys, to elementary, middle, and high school. I wish this didn't have to happen like this. I'm going to miss you a lot man."

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, Old Columbia Road in Fulton.

laura.barnhardt@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Jennifer McMenamin and Julie Scharper contributed to this article.

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