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Ex-Hopkins doctor guilty in DUI death

The Baltimore Sun

A former Johns Hopkins Hospital doctor pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court to automobile manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol for driving the wrong way on Interstate 83 in July and killing a 22-year-old woman.

Under the terms of his deal with prosecutors, Dr. Todd Brinsley Sheridan of the 2900 block of Fallstaff Road in Northwest Baltimore is scheduled to be sentenced in April to a maximum of 10 years in prison, with all but three years suspended. He had previously served 18 months' probation after another drunken-driving conviction in 2004.

The victim's mother, Glenda Johnson Goodwin, objected to the deal, saying Sheridan "deserves every bit of 10 years." She added: "He should never be allowed to practice medicine again because this is not his first offense. He had just gotten off probation in another DUI case."

But Sheridan's attorney, Craig Kadish, argued that his client no longer works at Hopkins and is volunteering at soup kitchens and other hospitals. Kadish said that his client has completed alcohol treatment at a facility in Pennsylvania and is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The doctor had been at Hopkins since 2002, when he became a resident. He previously was listed on the hospital's Web site as an assistant in the medical school's department of pathology. Kadish said that the community, given his clients' skills, would be better served if Sheridan spent less than three years in prison.

"Very few do what he does," the attorney said.

Sheridan, 32, was returning from a Hopkins event in Fells Point about 3 a.m. on July 8 when he drove up the wrong ramp at the North Avenue exit to the Jones Falls Expressway in a 2005 Honda Civic. He drove north for about 4 1/2 miles in the southbound lanes at about 50 mph before crashing into a 1992 Honda Accord driven by Letrice Nicole Smith of Gwynn Oak.

As Sheridan drove erratically, other drivers tried to stop him by blowing their horns and flashing their lights, witness Danielle Johnson told police.

"He wasn't speeding, but he was going the wrong way," Johnson said, according to the accident report. "I was hitting my horn to get his attention. He was hitting the barriers several times. The cars that were southbound were flashing their lights and hitting their horns."

Sheridan had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, about four hours after the crash, said Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Phelps.

After the accident, Smith was taken to Sinai Hospital, and later underwent surgery at Union Memorial Hospital. Two weeks later, Smith died of a blood clot that prosecutors said was a direct result of the injuries she suffered in the accident.

"She cried out but had no time to react," Phelps said, relying on information police and prosecutors obtained from Johnson. "This is supported by the fact that there were no pre-impact skid marks."

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