Howard man pleads guilty in fatal crash

Fulton man had .25 blood alcohol level in accident that killed woman, 53

August 02, 2010|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

A 29-year-old Howard County man pleaded guilty Monday to charges of vehicular manslaughter after an October incident in which he left the scene of a fatal crash after a bout of heavy drinking.

Police showed up at Ray William Wolfrey's Fulton home after they followed a trail of leaking fluid from the Oct. 10 accident, which killed Mary Valenzuela, 53, of Bethesda. "I screwed up," he told investigating police at the time. "I was scared." Authorities said he claimed he hadn't had any beer until after the accident and thought that the crash "didn't look that bad."

According to a statement of facts read at the hearing before Judge Diane Leasure, Wolfrey's blood alcohol level was tested at .25 that night, more than three times the legal limit and equal to about 8 or 9 beers for 135-pound Wolfrey, of the 12900 block of Clarksville Pike.

Police said Wolfrey watched college football with friends and bought beers by the bucket at the River Hill Sports Grill before the crash. When he left, police said he drove erratically on southbound Route 108 before hitting the left rear fender of Valenzuela's car, which was in front of him.

Valenzuela lost control of her car and hit a utility pole. She was declared dead at the scene.

Wolfrey drove off, police said, though his car was badly damaged. He is facing up to nine years in prison.

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