Maryland state delegate charged in boat crash that injured 7

|
Local,Maryland,Transportation,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

Maryland state Del. Don H. Dwyer faces multiple charges in connection with an August boating crash, police announced Thursday.

Dwyer, who represents Anne Arundel County, had a blood-alcohol content that was three times the legal limit when his boat collided with another vessel on the Magothy River near Pasadena, according to Maryland Natural Resource Police. The 54-year-old legislator and six others, including a few children, were injured.

Dwyer was charged with operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, reckless operation of a vessel, negligent operation of a vessel, failure to obtain an annual certificate number and a rules-of-the-road violation, police said. He faces up to one year behind bars and nearly $2,000 in fines if convicted of all charges.

The delegate said in a statement Friday that he regrets operating the boat after drinking and hopes that everyone who was injured continues to recover. Police said that Dwyer's blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.24 -- three times higher than the level at which a driver is legally considered intoxicated in Maryland.

"I ask forgiveness from the citizens who have looked to me to represent them with honor and integrity in the General Assembly," Dwyer said, "and I intend to prove my personal temporary difficulties did not and will not affect my ability to represent my constituents fully and completely with character and trustworthiness in the future."

The operator of the other boat -- 52-year-old Mark Harbin, of Pasadena -- also faces multiple charges. Police said that both Dwyer and Harbin contributed to the crash because neither one adjusted speed or acted quickly enough to avoid the collision.

Dwyer said that Harbin's boat struck his vessel in the left side, causing it to sink. But Harbin's lawyer, H. Briggs Bedigian, told the Maryland Gazette that "we believe the sole cause of the accident was the other driver cutting across in front of [Harbin] at a high rate of speed."

The crash occurred in Anne Arundel County, but the Howard County state's attorney's office assisted the Maryland Natural Resource Police with the investigation to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment