Maryland Woman Found Guilty Of Voluntary Manslaughter In Fatal Crash That Took Place In 2010 Near Dupont Circle- She Left The Scene After Hitting The Victim -
WASHINGTON - Jorida Davidson, 34, of Chevy Chase, Md., was found guilty by a jury today of voluntary manslaughter for causing a traffic crash in October 2010 that killed a woman near Dupont Circle, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Lynn Leibovitz scheduled sentencing for Sept. 19, 2014.
Davidson was found guilty in June 2011, after an earlier jury trial, of charges of negligent homicide, leaving the scene of a collision involving injury, and driving while under the influence of alcohol. That jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of voluntary manslaughter, leading to a retrial this month on that specific charge. In the earlier case, Davidson was sentenced to a total of three years and nine months in prison, and she is now serving that time.
According to the government’s evidence, on Oct. 7, 2010, at about 1:30 a.m., Davidson was operating a 2000 Lexus sport utility vehicle heading northbound on Connecticut Avenue NW, just south of Dupont Circle. She was driving in a lane that would take her into a tunnel that goes under Dupont Circle. At almost the last possible instant, Davidson rapidly changed lanes to avoid going into the tunnel, shifting to a non-tunnel lane on Connecticut Avenue.
At about the same time, the victim, Kiela Ryan, 24, was exiting from a legally parked car on the right side of the street. Davidson hit Ms. Ryan - making no attempt to brake or sound her horn - and then kept driving. An eyewitness got on a bicycle, pursued Davidson’s vehicle and observed the defendant and made a mental note of her car’s tag number.
Davidson, meanwhile, continued driving to her condominium building in Chevy Chase, Md. Police from Montgomery County, Md., found her in the basement garage there, sitting in her vehicle, at about 2:30 a.m. The right front headlight of the vehicle was damaged. The ignition was off, and Davidson had the keys to the Lexus in her hand. She smelled of alcohol and claimed not to know what had happened.
After she was struck, Ms. Ryan was taken to a hospital, where she later died.
In announcing this week’s verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen commended those who worked on the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also cited the efforts of the Montgomery County, Md. Police and the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In addition, he acknowledged the work of those who handled the case in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Sandra Lane; Information Technology Specialists Anisha Bhatia and Aneela Bhatia; David Foster and Marcia Rinker, of the Victim/Witness Assistance Unit, and Interns Brian Ganjei and Jacob Hjelmaas. He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Mannarino and Lauren Bates of the office’s Appellate Division. Finally, he praised the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Liebman and Edward O’Connell, who investigated and prosecuted the case.