Carroll County Crime

Man charged with vehicular manslaughter for fatal crash

A Westminster man was indicted Thursday on vehicular manslaughter charges for a fatal crash last year.

Christopher Trinity Hill, 21, of the 600 block of Spring Meadow Drive, was indicted by a grand jury on one count of manslaughter by vehicle and one count of criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle, according to Chief Deputy State's Attorney Allan Culver.

According to the Maryland Code, manslaughter by vehicle carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle is punishable by up to three years.

On Aug. 31, a vehicle driven by Hill was involved in a collision on Md. 140 in Westminster, according to court documents.

A witness at the scene told police that a Nissan passenger car was in the process of turning left off of Md. 140 onto Cranberry Road when it was struck by Hill's Chevrolet Suburban, which was traveling on Md. 140. The witness said that the Nissan had a green turn arrow and traffic on Md. 140 was stopped.

Mary Ann Christopher, 68, of the Virgin Islands, was killed in the crash.

In a statement to police, Hill said that he was traveling on Md. 140 when he observed that the traffic signal at Cranberry Road was red and began to brake, according to court documents.

As he approached the intersection, Hill said that the signal turned green and he began to accelerate through the intersection at a speed of 48 to 52 miles per hour. Hill said that as he entered the intersection, the Nissan began to turn and he applied the brakes and began to skid, according to documents.

Hill was issued multiple traffic citations stemming from the crash, including failure to obey a traffic control device, negligent driving and texting while driving, according to electronic court files. He was also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, which were found in the vehicle, according to the documents. Those charges are awaiting disposition.

In March, Hill and his father, Burnie Allen Hill, 81, were both charged with possession of a VIN for fraudulent purposes and alteration of a manufacturer's serial number after it was discovered by police that the vehicle involved in the crash was stolen and had a false VIN plate, according to documents. Those charges are also awaiting disposition.

Mary Ann Christopher's sister, Jackie Golden, of Mount Washington, said that the family was pleased to see "the beginnings of justice" but frustrated with the delay before Hill was charged with manslaughter. She said that they held a rally in Westminster to raise awareness in March and met with members of the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office.

Golden said that her sister was an educator, artist and historian and that she was heavily involved in the preservation of the culture and history of her home in the Virgin Islands.

She said Christopher's family members want a change in Maryland law that requires drug and alcohol testing at the scene of catastrophic crashes that cause serious injury or death, and they are gathering signatures for a petition.

While there are many things Golden wants to do to preserve her sister's legacy, she said, "For now, I'm trying to change the laws here."

Hill was released from the Carroll County Detention Center after posting $15,000 bail, according to a detention center spokesperson.