Carroll County Crime

Two charged for altering VIN on car involved in 2013 crash

A father and son are accused of altering the vehicle identification number on a car involved in a fatal crash last year.

Burnie Allen Hill, 81, and his son, Christopher Trinity Hill, 21, both of the 600 block of Spring Meadow Drive in Westminster, are each charged with possession of a VIN for fraudulent purposes and alteration of a manufacturer's serial number, according to charging documents. Both also received multiple traffic citations in connection with the August crash, which were listed as inactive as of Friday evening.

In addition, Burnie Hill is charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and Christopher Hill is charged with possession of marijuana and possession of controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia, according to electronic court filings.

The vehicle in question was a Chevrolet Suburban, owned by Burnie Hill and driven by Christopher Hill, which failed to stop for a red signal while traveling west on Md. 140 at the Cranberry Road intersection and struck a left-turning vehicle in August, according to charging documents.

Mary Ann Christopher, 68, of the Virgin Islands, was killed in the crash, according to a Maryland State Police news release.

At the scene, police allegedly observed that there was a second VIN plate on the windshield of the Chevrolet obscuring the original VIN plate. A check of Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration records indicated that the visible VIN and tag were registered to a 1994 Chevrolet Suburban, but the vehicle on scene was visually identified by police as an early 2000s model, according to the documents.

Police also found suspected marijuana in the vehicle at the scene, which Christopher Hill stated was not his, according to the documents.

In September, a check of the original VIN plate allegedly revealed that it was last registered to Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Rockville and was reported stolen in 2001 and never recovered, according to the documents. The history of the false VIN plate showed six owners, the last being Burnie Hill.

Christopher Hill allegedly advised police Sept. 13 that he purchased the vehicle from his father for the price of repairs on the front brakes, that he was not aware of the second VIN plate and that he thought the vehicle was a 1994 model, according to the documents.

When questioned, Burnie Hill allegedly told police Sept. 19 that he was the registered owner of the vehicle after purchasing it from an unidentified white male on the side of Md. 32 for $1,900 in 2009, according to the documents. Burnie Hill provided a green piece of cardboard as the bill of sale and advised police that he used the vehicle for tool storage for a construction site until 2011 then registered it in his name.

Burnie Hill also allegedly told police that he did not have contact information for the seller of the vehicle, did not know what a VIN plate was and did not know the year of the vehicle, according to charging documents.

Burnie Hill and Christopher Hill were released from the Carroll County Detention Center after posting $10,000 and $8,500 bond, respectively.