Repeat Drunk Driver Sentenced for Homicide by Motor Vehicle

State v. Wendy Lynn Moore, C-08-CR-18-000273

LA PLATA, Md. (October 18, 2018)—Tony Covington, State's Attorney for Charles County announced that on October 18, 2018, Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Wendy Lynn Moore to 5 years in prison for the vehicular slaying of Brian Smith. Moore, 50 of Mechanicsville, previously entered a guilty plea to the Negligent Vehicular Manslaughter of Smith on July 17, 2018.

Covington, commenting on the Court's sentence, said "Even if the Court gave this defendant the maximum sentence of 10 years, it simply would not be enough. I've said it many times before and will continue saying it until, as a society, we wake up. The statutory maximum penalties for killing somebody while driving drunk or drugged are ridiculously low. The potential sentences simply don't deter the crime nor sufficiently punish the killer. Consequently, in Maryland, a person is killed in a drunk driving case every other day of the year. Nationally, approximately 30 people are killed every single day! We need to seriously address this totally avoidable epidemic of death. Behavior-changing sentencing will make a huge difference."

On August 1, 2017, at approximately 1 p.m., troopers from the Maryland State Police responded to the area of Route 5 in Waldorf, south of Legacy Farm Place, for the report of a motor vehicle collision. Upon arrival, troopers observed two vehicles with extensive damage. Smith's vehicle had severe damage to the rear end and Moore's vehicle had severe damage to the front end. EMS Personnel were also on scene performing CPR on Smith, who was lying on a grassy area nearby the vehicles.

An investigation into the collision revealed that 53-year-old Smith, a husband and father of two, was attending to a mechanical issue of his disabled vehicle in broad daylight on the northbound shoulder of Route 5 in Waldorf. Moore was driving her vehicle northbound on Route 5 when, for no traffic-related reason, she veered off the roadway onto the shoulder, striking Smith's vehicle, which subsequently struck Smith. The impact was so great that Smith was thrown into a separate, grassy area. Smith suffered from extensive injuries to his head and body, and ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

A blood test was conducted on Moore which revealed a .05 blood alcohol level and the presence of the prescription drug Lexapro. The investigation concluded that the combination of both substances rendered her under the influence and caused her to lose control of the vehicle. In 2013, Moore plead guilty to driving while impaired by alcohol in the District Court of Maryland for Calvert County.

During sentencing, Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Freeman told the judge, "This crime—killing someone because you're under the influence and choose to drive—is avoidable. Ms. Moore made a conscious, reckless decision in disregard of every other life on the road that day and Mr. Smith died because of it. The State demands the Court impose the maximum sentence Ms. Moore can get."

Before imposing his sentence on Ms. Moore, Judge West said, "I am confident that it wasn't Ms. Moore's intent to hurt someone—certainly her intent was to drive—but a series of bad decisions brings us here.—The good thing, [for Ms. Moore's family at least] is that they will one day get a call with a release date—and can countdown until Ms. Moore will come home. The Smith family will get no such call."

The Court's overall sentence for Count 1 of the indictment, Negligent Vehicular Manslaughter, was 10 years incarceration with all but 5 years suspended. The defendant was placed on 5 years supervised probation upon her release from prison with various conditions.

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