Crime Watch

April 10, 2008

Woman charged in officer's death

Elkton woman identified by authorities as a person of interest in a hit-and-run accident that killed a veteran Maryland Transportation Authority police officer was indicted yesterday in connection with the New Year's Eve crash, according to Baltimore prosecutors.

Kerri J. King, 35, faces charges of automobile manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident, the city state's attorney's office said. The indictment handed up by a Baltimore grand jury was unsealed yesterday.

On Tuesday, King was sentenced to a year in jail on an unrelated traffic charge of driving on a suspended license in Harford County. She had been ticketed Nov. 20 for driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone in Havre de Grace, according to court records.

King had been identified as the owner of the sport utility vehicle involved in the Dec. 31 accident that killed Cpl. Courtney G. Brooks, who was struck while directing traffic on Interstate 95 near I-395 at the start of the New Year's Eve fireworks display at the Inner Harbor.

The driver of the SUV sped away from the accident. The vehicle was found hours later in Cecil County at a truck stop, its front end damaged and windshield cracked, police said. King was arrested and held on a warrant charging her with failing to appear in court on a drunken-driving charge filed in January in Baltimore.

In the months that followed the fatal accident, police worked to determine whether King had been driving the SUV that struck Brooks.

"We will never be able to overcome the loss that we suffered on New Year's Eve. But today we take another step toward closure," authority Police Chief Marcus Brown said in a statement.

Man sentenced in 2006 crash

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge has sentenced a Prince George's County man to five years probation for driving under the influence and crashing his car into a sign, an accident that killed his passenger, according to city prosecutors.

Matthew Howard Sheckels, 25, of New Carrollton pleaded guilty in February to driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter in the July 30, 2006, accident and death of Michael Jai White, also of New Carrollton.

Judge Michael Pierson ordered that Sheckels serve the first three years of his probation on home detention. The judge suspended a 10-year prison sentence.

Sheckels was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Impala east in the 4200 block of Boston St. when he lost control and hit a sign on the opposite side of the road, according to the city state's attorney's office.

Prosecutors said the car burst into flames. White died at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Authorities said Sheckels had a blood alcohol content of .18 percent.

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