A former North Carroll High School teacher has been indicted on charges of homicide by motor vehicle while impaired in connection with a February 2016 crash that left two people dead.
Michele E. Seibel, 53, of Westminster, was arraigned Tuesday in Carroll County Circuit Court, with Judge Richard Titus presiding, on two counts of homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, one count of driving while impaired causing serious bodily injury, one count of attempting to drive while impaired and one count of negligent driving. Homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of three years and a $5,000 fine, according to Maryland code.
Police are investigating a fatal car crash that occurred this afternoon at the intersection of Kimberly Jane Court and Md. 27 in Westminster involving two vehicles, according to Sgt. Robert Petras of the Maryland State Police Westminster Barrack.
Titus set Seibel's bail at $10,000 unsecured, meaning she does not have to pay it before she is released. She was released at about 3 p.m., a correctional deputy said.
According to a news release from the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office, Seibel was driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer on Md. 27 at about 2:05 p.m. Feb. 20 when she crossed the center line and struck a Subaru Forester driven by Lee Rose, 88. Seibel and Rose were flown to Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Medical Center, along with one of Rose's passengers, his wife, Gertrude J. Rose, 90, who died Feb. 22. A second passenger, Mary Lou Wolfe, 83, died Feb. 20 at Carroll Hospital.
Maryland State Police troopers responded to the crash and reported that Seibel smelled of alcohol at the scene. Later investigation determined that there were "sufficient levels of alcohol in her blood to establish impairment," according to the release.
Seibel was indicted by a grand jury Thursday, Jan. 5. She turned herself in early Tuesday morning, Carroll County State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo said.
During a Tuesday bail review, Seibel's attorneys, Eileen McInerney and Ed Ulsch, told Titus about Seibel's injuries, with Ulsch saying he was shocked she was alive. She's lost about 50 pounds, is essentially homebound because of her mobility issues and is in "really bad shape," Ulsch said.
Ulsch said Seibel plans to fully cooperate and attend all of her court hearings. She also has a Feb. 6 appointment at Shock Trauma regarding the possibility of further surgeries. All of these factors suggest she won't be a flight risk, Ulsch said.
It was also the first time she had been in trouble, Ulsch said.
Titus agreed, saying recent rulings from the Maryland Attorney General's Office and the Court of Special Appeals say secured bond should not be imposed on someone who isn't a flight risk or a public safety risk. Titus said that in order to prevent Seibel from being a public safety concern, she would be supervised by pretrial services, screened for alcohol and have to wear a Sobrietor, a device that allows for random alcohol testing.
Seibel is currently on a paid leave of absence from Carroll County Public Schools, but her allowance will be decreasing next week, Ulsch told Titus.
Seibel is on medical leave and is using her accumulated sick leave, CCPS spokeswoman Carey Gaddis said.
She is still employed by the school system, but Gaddis couldn't comment further because it is a personnel matter, she said.
The state was represented by Stephen Roscher, who stepped in for Adam Wells. Roscher gave Titus a memorandum on behalf of Wells, which was not read during the hearing.
McInerney and Ulsch are not representing Seibel past the bail review and the arraignment. She will have to appear in court on Jan. 31 to explain if she will have private council, use the public defender's office or represent herself. Seibel is in talks with another attorney, and if the attorney alerts the court that they will be representing Seibel, the court hearing will likely be canceled, Titus said.
Lt. Patrick McCrory, commander of the MSP Westminster Barrack, said he could not comment on the case because it is still pending.