A driver with a blood-alcohol level measured at twice the legal limit after his speeding car killed two pedestrians and struck another car on the shoulder of Interstate 70 was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Patrick Cavanaugh, who presided over a bench trial, found Donneil Raeburn, 27, guilty in April of two counts of manslaughter. On Tuesday, Cavanaugh imposed the maximum sentence, 10 years for each victim, and ordered that the terms be served consecutively.

The families of the victims, Jonathan Henderson, 29, and his girlfriend, Mary-Kathryn Abernathy, 21, issued a statement after the sentencing.

"This has been a long and difficult ordeal and while we are certainly mindful that no amount of time served will bring Mary-Kathryn and Jon to back to us, this sentence does help to bring about resolution in this tragic incident," the statement said.

"We are very pleased that Judge Cavanaugh and the Maryland court system has sent out a strong message to its citizens, that drinking and driving will not be tolerated."

The crash occurred in the early hours of June 21, 2009, when Raeburn's Chevrolet Impala hit the pedestrians and another car as it raced west on I-70 at more than 80 mph. Prosecutors said the Impala left the road as it approached the Beltway.

During the trial, Cavanaugh said Raeburn's blood-alcohol level measured .16 four hours after the crash. He said the impact was so severe he could not tell which car was Raeburn's Impala or the Chevrolet Cavalier that he hit.

In Maryland, a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or above is considered under the influence of alcohol.

peter.hermann@baltsun.com

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