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Churchville man pleads guilty to drinking and driving charge in connection with 2011 fatal crash

A Churchville man will spend up to 14 months in jail after pleading guilty Monday to a drinking and driving offense and one count of possession of marijuana in connection with a December 2011 traffic accident in northern Harford County that killed a Pennsylvania man.

Charles Robert Creaney, 23, of the 2900 block of Northern Dancer Drive, pleaded guilty in Harford County Circuit Court in Bel Air to one count of negligent homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and one count of possession of marijuana, Harford County State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly said.

Creaney was sentenced by retired Judge Maurice W. Baldwin to the maximum five years incarceration with all but 14 months suspended, according to a news release from the state's attorney's office. Upon release, Creaney will be on five years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to make $13,787 in restitution.

The charges stem from a motor vehicle accident on Dec. 4, 2011 at Route 23 and Harford Creamery Road south of Norrisville.

According to police reports at the time, Donald Keith Van Gosen, of Fawn Grove, Pa., was traveling east on Route 23 when Creaney's Nissan Xterra traveling west struck Mr. Van Gosen's Chevrolet Cavalier head on.

An investigation by the Maryland State Police CRASH team revealed that Creaney's vehicle was traveling between 50 and 56 mph during heavy fog when it crossed the double yellow lines and hit Mr. Van Gosen's vehicle. Shortly after the crash, a state trooper said investigators did not believe the fog was a factor in the accident.

Creaney and a passenger were treated for non-life threatening injuries at York Hospital, state police said at the time.

According to the news release from Cassilly's office following Monday's guilty plea and sentencing, Creaney's blood alcohol level was .17 nearly three hours following the accident, more than twice the legal limit of .08.

Assistant State's Attorney David Ryden asked the court to impose a jail term of 18 months in the Harford County Detention Center despite Creaney having no prior criminal history, the news release stated.

According to electronic court records, in addition to the marijuana possession and negligent driving while under the influence charges, Creaney was originally charged with negligent manslaughter and negligent homicide while operating a auto/boat/other vehicle, failing to render reasonable assistance, driving in excess of reasonable and prudent speed, failure to reduce speed in dangerous weather, highway conditions and several other traffic offenses.

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