Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter In Traffic Fatality in Washington, D.C.
Driver Under Influence of Alcohol Crashed, Killing Front Seat Passenger
WASHINGTON – Momodui I. Bello, 36, of Fort Washington, Md., pled guilty today to involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol, stemming from a recent traffic fatality in Washington, D.C., Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. announced.
Bello entered the plea in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Lynn Leibovitz scheduled sentencing for Sept. 4, 2015. The plea agreement, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a sentence between three and five years in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, on Sunday, March 22, 2015, at about 3:15 a.m., Bello was driving a Volkswagen Passat on Eastern Avenue with the victim, Nancy Tinoza, in the front seat, and a rear seat passenger. The group was coming from Mango Café in Bladensburg, Md., where Bello drank several alcoholic beverages. While driving in the 3400 block of Eastern Avenue NE, in the District of Columbia, Bello failed to maintain his lane or to reduce his speed and crashed the Volkswagen into the rear of a tractor-trailer combination truck that was parked in the curbside lane of Eastern Avenue. The passenger side of Bello’s Volkswagen struck the back of the truck, went under the truck, and came to a rest when it slammed into the truck’s rear wheels. The crash killed Ms. Tinoza, 26.
The evidence indicated that, at the time of the crash, Bello was traveling at 45 mph in the 25 mph zone, and that he did not apply his brakes or take any action to avoid the collision. While at a hospital after the crash, Bello submitted a urine sample which indicated the presence of alcohol with a concentration of .24 percent. A concentration of .10 percent of alcohol in urine is considered to be driving under the influence in the District of Columbia.
In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department, including members of the Major Crash Investigations Unit and the Fifth District. He also expressed appreciation for those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Sandra Lane and Victim/Witness Advocate Jim Brennan. Finally, he commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward A. O’Connell, who is prosecuting the matter.