FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 5, 2012
For Information Contact:
Maryland Man Sentenced to Three-Year Prison Term
In Crash That Seriously Injured 17-Year-Old Boy
- Defendant Was Driving Recklessly and Under the Influence of Alcohol -
WASHINGTON - Vernon Blake, 38, was sentenced today to a three-year prison term for aggravated assault, reckless driving and driving under the influence in a traffic collision last summer that seriously injured a teenage boy, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
The defendant, who resided in Suitland, Maryland at the time of this incident, pled guilty to the charges in January 2011. He was sentenced by the Honorable Stuart G. Nash in the Superior Court of the District Columbia.
According to the government’s evidence, on July 9, 2011, the victim, a rising junior at Anacostia High School, met with two friends near his house. The three boys got on bicycles and rode to a supermarket in the shopping center in the 1500 block of Alabama Avenue SE. After leaving the supermarket, they began riding their bikes toward the victim’s home. It was about 11:30 p.m., and the weather was clear and warm. The boys approached the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Stanton Road SE, which is controlled by a traffic light. The victim walked his bike across Alabama Avenue, and he almost made it to the sidewalk on the north side of Alabama Avenue when he was struck by the defendant’s sports utility vehicle.
Blake had been drinking. When he was later stopped by police, he failed four of five field sobriety tests, and a blood test a few hours after the incident showed that his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. At the time of the crash, he was driving at least 50 mph, twice the speed limit. He also passed another vehicle on the right as he approached the intersection.
The impact of the defendant’s vehicle sent the victim flying through the air and into a wrought iron fence surrounding a bank on the north side of Alabama Avenue. The victim suffered a compound fracture to his right femur, which was protruding through his inner thigh, a deformed fracture to his right arm, multiple fractures of the pelvis, and a broken jaw, among other injuries. He spent two weeks in the hospital and an additional two months in a rehabilitation facility. Now 18, he has undergone numerous surgical procedures to repair the damage done as a result of the collision. The victim has lasting injuries and will return to school this week for the first time since the incident.
Blake never stopped to see the damage he had done. Bystanders called 911 and described the defendant’s vehicle, which was stopped by police a few minutes later just on the other side of the border between the District and Prince George’s County, Maryland.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the concerned citizens who stopped to assist the victim and to report the crime to the police. Without their assistance, the defendant might never have been apprehended. U.S. Attorney Machen also expressed appreciation for the hard work of Metropolitan Police Department Detective Cheryl Harley; Officers Richard Rice, Karane Williams, Brian Stacks, Guy Augustine, Stephen Murphy, Demaris Wooten, and George Robinson, and Crime Scene Officer Petheria McIver, all of whom played a critical role in the investigation and prosecution of this case.
Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Swaney and Kathryn Rakoczy, who prosecuted the case.