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Hagerstown man indicted in death of motorcyclist

Robert Daniel Hilliard Jr. faces two counts of homicide by a motor vehicle

November 03, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Robert Daniel Hilliard Jr.
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A Washington County grand jury this week indicted a Hagerstown man on two counts of homicide by a motor vehicle in the death of a motorcyclist following a four-vehicle crash on Eastern Boulevard on Oct. 6, according to court records and prosecutors.

Robert Daniel Hilliard Jr., 26, of 1010 Bramly Court was also indicted Tuesday on 20 other charges, including drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident, according to Washington County Circuit Court records.

Richard Burchfield II, 45, of Oil City, Pa., died a day after the crash at Meritus Medical Center, where he was taken after the accident to be treated for numerous injuries, authorities said.

Besides the homicide by vehicle charges, Hilliard was also indicted on gross negligence, manslaughter by a motor vehicle, criminal negligent manslaughter, causing life-threatening injury while impaired by drugs, causing life-threatening injury while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and driving a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol or alcohol and drugs, according to county Deputy State's Attorney Steve Kessell and court records.

He also faces charges of following too closely, failure to control speed of a vehicle on a highway to avoid collision, reckless driving, negligent driving, failure to immediately stop at a scene involving bodily injury, failure to return and remain at a scene of an accident involving bodily injury, failure to stop after an accident involving damage to an attended property, failure to return and remain at a scene of an accident involving attended property and failure of a driver involved in an accident to render reasonable assistance to an injured person.

He was also charged with failure of a driver involved in an accident to furnish required ID and license, failure of a driver involved in an accident to exhibit a license to a police officer, failure of a driver involved in an accident to report to the nearest police authority and failure of a driver involved in an accident to give insurance policy information.

Hilliard was being held in the Washington County Detention Center Thursday afternoon on $750,000 bond, jail officials said.

The accident was reported at 12:51 p.m. on Eastern Boulevard, just north of Md. 64, authorities said.

A witness told Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies that she was traveling south on Eastern Boulevard and saw a silver Honda in front of her swerving from "side to side" and "speeding up and slowing down repeatedly," according to the statement of probable cause.

The witness said a male driver and a child were in the Honda. The driver of the Honda accelerated rapidly and struck the "rear end of the vehicle that had been directly in front of the Honda," the witness said in the charging documents.

"The vehicle in front of the Honda, a gray Ford Focus, was pushed into a motorcycle and the motorcycle was subsequently pushed into (a) SUV," the documents said.

The witness told deputies that "the rear end of the Ford Focus had been lifted off the ground with the front end of the Honda being underneath the rear end of the Ford," the documents said.

The Honda then backed up and drove away on the southbound shoulder of Eastern Boulevard, the witness said in the documents.

The impact forced Burchfield's motorcycle underneath a 2007 Jeep Cherokee.

"Burchfield was trapped underneath of the Jeep, wedged between the Jeep and his motorcycle," the documents said. "He was removed by fire and rescue services and transported to Meritus Medical Center."

Deputies said they found the Honda's license plate under the Ford Focus and determined that it was registered to Hilliard's mother, Doris Willis of 1010 Bramly Court in Hagerstown.

Deputies went to the Bramly Court address and detained Hilliard as he was leaving, the documents said.

Willis, who was questioned at the house, said "that Hilliard told her he 'had an accident,'" the documents said. "Willis asked (him) why he left the scene of the accident, and Hilliard stated, 'I don't know, I got scared.'"

Deputies said Hilliard smelled like alcohol when they spoke with him. Hilliard told them that he had one shot of alcohol on the day of the accident and had been drinking the night before, the documents said.

During a medical screening, Hilliard told authorities that he was a user of methadone, oxycodone and Klonopin, the documents said.

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