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Alcohol charge filed in teen's death

August 08, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

A Boonsboro teenager whose body was found in a paper recycling bin last month accidentally suffocated while he was intoxicated, the Washington County Sheriff's Department said Friday.

A Boonsboro man has been charged with providing alcohol to Joshua Lee Smith, 17, of 307 N. Main St., before his death, police said.

Police charged Jason Adam Smith, 23, of 624 N. Main St., with furnishing alcohol to two minors. Jason Smith is not related to Joshua Smith.

The autopsy showed Joshua Smith was drinking on Friday, July 17, police said. His blood-alcohol level was .15, according to a report from Dr. Margarita Korell of the state Medical Examiner's Office, who ruled the death accidental.

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By comparison, a motorist in Maryland can be charged with driving while intoxicated if found with a blood-alcohol level of .10.

Friends said Smith had been partying in the Keedysville area that night.

When plans to stay at a friend's house fell through, he decided to spend the night at the Red Byrd Restaurant, Motel & Banquet Hall.

That was the last time anyone saw him, friends said.

On Monday, July 20, his body turned up at a paper recycling plant in Rockville, Md. The body appeared to have been crushed.

Georgetown Paper Co. officials traced the paper load to a pickup route that included a stop at the Red Byrd.

Red Byrd Manager Jeff Hoffman said he didn't want to talk about the circumstances of Smith's death.

"I've tried to get it out of my mind and I can't get it out of my mind. Anytime it's sudden and a young person like that it's really hard," he said.

Joshua Smith's mother, Irene Smith, said she didn't know what to say.

"I'm still really devastated by it all. I'm just kind of riding this out. The family and friends are in a lot of pain right now and that's all I can say," she said.

Joshua Smith, who would have entered his senior year at Boonsboro High this fall, wrestled and played football for the school. He worked two jobs and planned to join the military after graduation, friends said.

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