Carroll County woman pleads guilty to negligent manslaughter

A Carroll County woman whose car crashed into the back of a stopped motorcycle on U.S. 40 last summer pleaded guilty Friday to negligent manslaughter.

The prosecution is seeking a 5-year sentence for Alison Walsh, 23, of Hampstead, after her plea in Howard County Circuit Court. Police said that Walsh had a blood-alcohol level of .17 percent, more than double the legal limit.

The July 11 accident killed 68-year-old Cecilia Amato of Pennsylvania, who, with her 74-year-old husband, Antonio, was on the way to Gettysburg, Pa. Antonio Amato told police that he was stopped about 15 feet from the intersection of U.S. 40 and Marriottsville Road at a light red when his motorcycle was struck by Walsh's Honda Civic.

The impact of the crash sent Cecilia Amato hurtling onto the hood of Walsh's car and onto the ground and Antonio Amato to the ground. As Walsh got out of her car, a witness heard her say, "I've never hit anyone on a motorcycle before."

According to police, Cecilia Amato was conscious when she was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Suffering from fractured ribs and internal bleeding, Amato died from a loss of blood and cardiopulmonary arrest, police said.

Walsh, who is free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced April 7. In September 2008, Walsh was stopped by police in Carroll County and charged with attempting to drive under the influence of alcohol and negligent driving. She pleaded not guilty and received probation before judgment, according to court records.

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