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Attorneys agree to lighter sentence for man guilty in traffic death

March 20, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Bryan May
Submitted photo

HAGERSTOWN — A Boonsboro man who pleaded guilty in the death of another man in an alcohol-related traffic accident last July was sentenced to serve four years in prison Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court.

But Bryan May, 45, of 103 Tiger Way, likely will serve fewer than two weeks of that sentence.

Under a contract that was agreed upon before Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, the family of the late Bradley Christman agreed that May be sentenced to prison for the remainder of this month, then return to court on April 1 for a sentence modification hearing.

At that time, May could be released to serve nine months of home detention and 100 hours of community service, according to the agreement that was discussed Tuesday in court.

Judge Daniel P. Dwyer also ordered May to pay Christman’s family $11,621.49 to cover funeral expenses and the cost of traveling from their home in Wisconsin to Washington County.

May pleaded guilty to driving/attempting to drive a vehicle while under the influence. A number of other charges were dropped in exchange for the plea.

Dwyer sentenced May to serve three years on the criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle charge and to one year on the charge of negligent homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Those sentences were ordered to run consecutively.

Before sentence was passed, Dwyer said May’s blood alcohol concentration of .08 barely qualified for a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. Dwyer further stated that May had no criminal record until the accident.

“This isn’t murder. This wasn’t premeditated, hot-blooded murder. This was an accident,” Dwyer said.

May began to cry when Dwyer reminded him that a man was killed as a result of the crash. May wept repeatedly throughout the course of the hearing, particularly when he turned to Christman’s family and addressed them in court.

“I’m so sorry for what happened ... I know he was a good person. I’m sorry,” May said.

Washington County Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Kessell said the crash occurred on the evening of July 26, 2012, when a Dodge Ram that May was driving went left of center on Mapleville Road near Pacer Avenue and collided with a Chevrolet Silverado being driven by Christman.

Kessell said Christman, who was from Wisconsin but lived in Waynesboro, Pa., died at the scene.

Maryland State Police troopers detected an odor of alcohol on May’s breath, Kessell said. A sample of May’s blood showed that his blood alcohol concentration was .08, which is the minimum limit for a DUI charge in the state of Maryland.

Kessell said May admitted to drinking three or four beers at a charity golf event on the day of the accident. He said there was no evidence that May was speeding or driving erratically until the two vehicles collided.

“In this particular case, Mr. May has been extremely remorseful from the get-go,” Kessell said.

He read a letter from Christman’s mother, who attended the hearing but chose not to speak.

In the letter, Linda Christman wrote that her son was a wonderful person with an “infectious spirit.”

Kessell said that in similar circumstances, the families of victims often request prosecutors to seek the death penalty. But in this case, he said, the Christmans didn’t want to ruin May’s life.

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Editor's note: This story was edited March 20, 2013, to correct the headline and the third paragraph of the story. The family of Bradley Christman did not request a lighter sentence for Bryan May.

Editor's note: This story was edited March 25, 2013, to correct the plea in the case. Bryan May pleaded guilty to driving/attempting to drive a vehicle while under the influence.

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