A 30-year-old Mount Airy man was sentenced to 13 months in jail Monday after a 2014 drunk driving collision killed his friend in western Howard County.
Karl Joseph Tomanek, 30, entered an Alford plea—a plea of guilty without admission to guilt— to negligent manslaughter, according to a news release from Howard County State's Attorney's Office spokesman Wayne Kirwan. Tomanek was sentenced by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. McCrone.
According to prosecutors, the release stated, Tomanek lost control of a pickup truck, drove into a ditch and struck a tree shortly before midnight on December 12, 2014. While four of the five occupants, including Tomanek, were able to get out of the truck, James Nicholas Dejordy, 26, of Clarksville, was trapped underneath the overturned truck and died of head injuries.
Further police investigation revealed that Tomanek was the driver of the truck. Kirwan's report stated that he was later indicted by a Howard County grand jury in May 2015.
During Monday's hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Claude deVastey-Jones told the court that Tomanek admitted to consuming 12 beers prior to the accident. Kirwan's report stated that Tomanek had a blood alcohol content of .21, which is over two and a half times the legal limit. An 18 pack of empty beer cans were also found in and around the truck, which was traveling between 58 and 62 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, according to investigators.
The victim's family was present during the sentencing, Kirwan said.
"I know Karl and I know he's not a bad person," Jeanette Dejordy said in Kirwan's news release. Kirwan said Tomanek also apologized to Dejordy's family, saying, "There's not a day that goes by that it doesn't tear me apart."
The report stated that Judge McCrone characterized Tomanek as "a slow learner," making his actions "unforgivable." The judge then sentenced Tomanek to seven years in prison, suspending all but 13 months, under the terms of the plea agreement.
Tomanek was also placed under five years of supervised probation, when he must abstain from alcohol, receive alcohol evaluation and treatment, as well as attend three self-help meetings per week. In addition, the report stated Tomanek will serve 150 hours of community service and pay court costs.