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Indictment alleges homicide by vehicle, DUI after Westminster man hit, killed man with truck in Hampstead

Indictment alleges homicide by vehicle, DUI after Westminster man hit, killed man with truck in Hampstead
John B. Batz (Courtesy Photo)

A Westminster man has been indicted for alleged homicide by motor vehicle in Carroll County Circuit Court after his vehicle struck and killed a man in Hampstead in February.

John B. Batz, 31, of the 3600 block of Turkeyfoot Road, was charged with negligent manslaughter by operating a vehicle, negligent homicide by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, homicide by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, two counts relating to driving under the influence of alcohol, and two counts related to failing to immediately stop at the scene of an accident involving death, according to the June 27 indictment.

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He was initially held without bond until a June 28 bail review, at which bail was set at $50,000, according to online court records. Batz was released after 10 percent of his bail was posted, on the conditions of pre-trial supervision, random testing and not being permitted to drive a vehicle unless an ignition interlock device is installed, according to a bail review document. Ignition interlocks prevent cars from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds 0.025%. The legal limit for Maryland drivers is 0.08%.

According to the state’s memorandum in support of the state’s position for no bond, Batz was driving a truck that struck Eric Hendler, who was walking along Brodbeck Road on Feb. 15 at about 3:15 a.m. Batz consumed more than 20 drinks earlier that evening in a local bar before the crash, according to the memorandum.

Batz left the scene after the collision and Hendler died shortly after from his injuries, the memorandum states. An investigation led to Batz’s arrest, as his “truck had damage consistent with a collision with the victim and evidence left at the scene matched [Batz’s] vehicle,” according to the memorandum, wehich also notes Batz and his vehicle were seen in the area near the time of the crash.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Adam G. Wells requested that Batz be held without bond and wrote in the memorandum that Batz has a history of prior convictions related to driving under the influence in Texas in 2015 and in Carroll County in 2016.

Batz was initially charged with failure to immediately return and remain at the scene of an accident involving death and failure to immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of an accident involving death in February.

If convicted, Batz could face up to 15 years incarceration and/or fines up to $10,000 for negligent manslaughter by vehicle; up to 10 years and/or up to $10,000 for negligent homicide by vehicle, and the same for failing to stop at the scene of an accident that might result in death; up to five years and/or up to $10,000 for homicide by vehicle; up to three years and/or up to $3,000 for driving under the influence, and the same for driving while impaired; and up to five years and/or up to $5,000 for failing to immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of an accident involving death, according to the indictment.

Batz’s attorney, Leonard H. Shapiro of Owings Mills, declined to comment Wednesday. Contact information for Batz was not listed in online court records. A hearing date had yet to be scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon.

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