Trial in fatal city accident nearing

June 08, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

A Hagerstown man charged in an October accident on Mount Aetna Road in which two people died is scheduled for a trial later this month in Washington County District Court.

Matthew David Meyer, 23, of 11010 Sani Lane faces two counts of negligent manslaughter by automobile in the deaths of Gerald Eugene Dietrich, 59, and Mary Ellen Dietrich, 61, who lived on the 2000 block of Academy Lane in Hagerstown.

Meyer also was charged with multiple violations including reckless driving, negligent driving, failing to control his vehicle's speed to avoid a collision and passing in a no-passing zone.


The Washington County Sheriff's Office served an arrest warrant on Meyer on April 21 and he was released that day on an unsecured bond of $100,000. He faces up to 20 years in jail and more than $11,000 in fines.

Police were called to the 20200 block of Mount Aetna Road at 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2002, where deputies found an upside-down 1984 Ford Ranger pickup and a white 2001 BMW 330 lodged against an embankment, according to charging documents and police reports.

A six-month investigation followed, according to charging documents filed in District Court.

On the night of the accident, two men who were driving together east on Mount Aetna Road said the BMW approached them rapidly from behind, according to charging documents. The two men told police the BMW passed them in a no-passing zone, the documents said. They saw a pickup approaching from the opposite direction, and the BMW struck it head-on.

After striking the pickup, the BMW continued east about 40 feet until it came to rest. The impact pushed the pickup backward 77 feet.

Meyer, who was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after the accident was released from the hospital in January, according to the charging documents.

In November, a Maryland State Police crash investigator said he found evidence of a speed-enhancing "Nitrous power booster system" in the BMW, but the nitrous tank had been removed, the documents said.

In January, when police asked Meyer's father, Frank Meyer, if he had taken the nitrous tank, he said he had taken it from the trunk area while retrieving some of his son's personal effects, according to the documents. He told police the tank had been connected to a "purge valve" and not to the car's engine.

The Herald-Mail Articles