Hagerstown Maryland Motorcycle Accident Death: Pickup Truck Driver Gets 10 Years for Vehicle Manslaughter

A Washington County Circuit judge has sentenced a Smithsburg, Maryland man under an Alford plea to 10 years in prison for manslaughter by vehicle, resulting from a fatal motorcycle crash that occurred in Hagerstown on May 25, 2008.

Debra Reed Fields-Jordan of Boonsboro, Maryland was riding her motorcycle east on Md. 77, cruising down the road to a hamburger stand in Thurmont, Maryland. Tragically, this 35-year-old wife and mother of five children never made it to her destination.

A pickup truck heading south on Pleasant Valley Road driven by Harry William “Billy” Shrader Jr. ran a stop sign at the intersection with Md. 77. Fields-Jordan, who had the right of way, crashed her motorcycle into the pickup truck on the passenger side. The truck went into a tree and the driver fled the scene. Shrader — who had a list of previous convictions including two DUIs, driving impaired, and possession of drugs — was arrested a short time later. He had been using hallucinogens at the time of the truck motorcycle accident and said he couldn’t remember what happened.

In a separate case, Shrader was sentenced to two 15-year sentences for a burglary case tried in October. He will serve the sentences concurrently, with all but seven years suspended. That means in addition to the manslaughter conviction, Shrader will serve 17 years and is eligible for parole.

Under the Alford plea, the defendant is not required to admit to guilt but acknowledges that the state of Maryland has enough evidence for a conviction. A civil lawsuit filed in August by the victim’s family in this wrongful death case alleges “cruel and inhuman treatment and wanton wrongs, with malice” resulting from Shrader’s intoxicated driving and failure to stop at a stop sign. The deceased woman’s husband, Stephen J. Jordan, is seeking $4 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages.

Smithsburg man gets 10 years in vehicle manslaughter case The Herald-Mail, Nov. 17, 2008

Man sentenced in motorcycle death Examiner.com, Nov. 17, 2008
Related Web Resources
American Motorcyclist State-by-State Motorcycle Laws

Maryland MVA: 2008 Maryland Motorcycle Safety Program