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Driver indicted in fatal accident

October 18, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A 20-year-old Williamsport man has been indicted on charges he was driving drunk at the time of a highway accident that killed a friend in August.

A Washington County Circuit Court grand jury on Monday handed up an eight-count indictment against Bryan Lee Markell of 10704 Timothy Drive, court records show. The indictment was not made public until Friday, the day after he was served with the charges.

Bret Michael Crowell, 20, of 17715 Meadowood Drive, Hagerstown, died from injuries in the Aug. 17 accident.

Crowell was the front seat passenger in a 1993 Ford Escort that Markell was driving when he lost control and struck a guardrail that separates Interstate 81 and the collector lanes to Interstate 70, police said at the time.

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Markell and two back-seat passengers, Robert David Stotler, 20, and Todd Christopher Wilson, 18, both of Hagerstown, were hurt in the 1:30 a.m. accident.

None of the four was wearing seat belts, police said.

All four were taken to Washington County Hospital, where Crowell was pronounced dead at 2:08 a.m., court records state.

When Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class R. Embly Jr. went to the hospital, he smelled alcohol on the breath of the survivors. All three were given breath tests to measure their blood alcohol content, court records said.

Stotler's test measured .07 and Wilson's measured .06. Both were cited for being minors in possession of alcohol, records state.

Markell's breath test showed a blood-alcohol content of .17, records state. He agreed to a blood test, but the results were not in the court records.

Markell is charged with manslaughter by vehicle, homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, driving under the influence, driving under the influence per se, driving while impaired, reckless driving, negligent driving and failure to drive at a reasonable and prudent speed, court records show.

Markell spent the night at Washington County Detention Center on $50,000 bond and was bailed out Friday by Joyce Markell of the same address in Williamsport, court records show.

Crowell was the son of Tom Haines and Debra Lee Weisz Crowell of Hagerstown. He was employed by River City Farm & Pet Supply in Williamsport.

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