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Man sentenced to 10 years for negligent manslaughter

June 13, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

The driver of a vehicle involved in a 2007 crash that claimed the life of his pregnant girlfriend pleaded guilty to negligent manslaughter Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Javaughn Allen Young, 21, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years suspended. He received credit for the 169 days he already has served.

Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. also ordered Young to serve four years of supervised probation.

Three other charges against Young related to the crash, including driving on a suspended license, driving on a highway without a required license and attempting to elude police, were dropped in exchange for the plea.

Young was fleeing police early on the morning of June 9, 2007, with 20-year-old Kelsy Lynn Thomas in the passenger seat when he struck a parked vehicle on South Main Street in Boonsboro, Deputy State's Attorney Steven Kessell said Thursday during the plea hearing.

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Thomas was taken to Washington County Hospital, where she later died as a result of the crash, Kessell said.

Thomas' mother, Susan Thomas, said Kelsy was four months pregnant at the time and the baby did not survive.

Young apologized to Susan Thomas and Steve Thomas, Kelsy's father, during Thursday's hearing.

"I'm really sorry," Young said as he looked behind him to the family members in the courtroom. "If I could switch places with Kelsy, I would. I'm really sorry."

Long expressed doubt about Young's sincerity before he read Young's sentence.

"It's easy to say you'd like to put yourself in the place of Kelsy. I wonder if you mean that," Long said.

Young failed to appear at an initial hearing in the case in December 2007. Almost one week later, U.S. Marshals arrested Young at another girlfriend's apartment in Albany, N.Y., authorities there have said.

Young's attorney, Carl Creeden, said Thursday that Young went to New York to join family and was not trying to avoid police in Maryland.

Young and his mother moved to Hagerstown after his father was shot and killed in a New York club in 2000, Creeden said.

Both Susan and Steve Thomas said they were disappointed in Long's decision to suspend half of Young's prison sentence.

"I wish he had gotten the full time," Susan Thomas said. "My daughter is gone forever."

At the time of the accident, Young was driving on a suspended license and was on unsupervised probation stemming from charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle in 2006, Creeden said.

Kessell said police clocked Young's Honda Civic at 67 mph in a 50-mph stretch of Alternate U.S. 40 on the night of the accident.

When police pursued Young, he accelerated to about 100 mph, Kessell said.

Police were unable to close on Young's car, and when they caught up to the Civic, it already had crashed, Kessell said.

Tests performed at the accident scene showed that Young tried to brake about 93 feet before the parked car and was traveling between 77 mph and 88 mph at the time of impact.

"It's one of those cases, and we hear it all the time, that speed kills," Kessell said.

Susan Thomas said she has obtained custody of Kelsy Thomas' daughter, Taniyah, who was 18 months old at the time of the accident.

Susan Thomas said she is not sure how much Taniyah, who is now 2 1/2 years old, understands about what happened to her mother.

"She sees Kelsy's pictures around the house and points at them and says she misses her. She knows who she is, but I'm not sure she understands where she has gone," Susan Thomas said.

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