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Alcohol link probed in crash that killed 2 Fallston athletes


Alcohol may have contributed to the accident that killed two Fallston High School athletes Saturday, an investigator for the Harford County sheriff's department said yesterday.

A blood-alcohol test was administered to the driver believed to have caused the accident, Christopher William Smith, 20, of Baldwin, but the results were unavailable, said Sgt. Edward Hopkins, a Sheriff's Department spokesman.

The accident is under review, said Joseph I. Cassilly, Harford County state's attorney.

"We are consulting with the Sheriff's Department," Mr. Cassilly said. "And a decision is going to be made after we finish the investigation on whether we will take the case to the grand jury." The grand jury would decide whether to indict Mr. Smith.

Christian James Leonard, 18, and Eric Christopher Rothgeb, 16, both of Fallston, were killed about 4 a.m. Saturday after they were struck while walking in the 1500 block of Fallston Road, also known as Route 152, north of Friendship Road.

Mr. Smith was driving north on Fallston Road when his 1992 Jeep Wrangler crossed the center line, swerved across the southbound lane and struck the two teen-agers who were walking north on the southbound shoulder, according to Sergeant Hopkins.

Mr. Smith then drove several more miles to a convenience store, where he stopped to call his family, Sergeant Hopkins said. Then, apparently, Mr. Smith and a family member drove to the accident scene where they were spotted by a sheriff's deputy on routine patrol, Sergeant Hopkins said.

Mr. Smith was detained for questioning and the alcohol test, but was released without being charged.

"He did give a statement to the investigating officer, but I can't go into it," Sergeant Hopkins said.

Eric, who played varsity baseball and football for Fallston High, was to begin his senior year this fall. Mr. Leonard played for the Fallston baseball team. He graduated from Fallston High on June 9.

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