An Anne Arundel County man was struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver on Route 32 in Howard County late Wednesday, police said. It was the fourth pedestrian fatality in the county this year.
Luther Beamer III, 23, of Odenton was driving a 2002 GMC Sierra pickup truck when it ran out of gas, Howard County police said. He pulled the truck onto the shoulder of Route 32 near Deer Hill Road.
Beamer was putting fuel into the vehicle, when a northbound 2002 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck struck him just before 11:30 p.m., the police said.
Beamer was taken to Howard County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The driver of the Toyota, Aleksandr V. Dyubanov, 46, of the 100 block of Bentley St. in Taneytown, has been charged with driving under the influence, driving while impaired, manslaughter by automobile and homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
He was being held yesterday at the Howard County Detention Center.
Dyubanov's blood alcohol content was 0.22, according to police. A person with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 is considered intoxicated in Maryland.
"This kind of very tragic case should serve as a reminder to people of the dangers of drinking and driving," said Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.
In Howard County, drunken driving and pedestrian fatalities have been areas of focus for the police. Of the 15 fatal accidents in the county last year, six were alcohol-related, according to police.
The department conducts sobriety checkpoints throughout the county, including one last weekend on southbound U.S. 1 in Savage, police said.
More than 800 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, and police said six drivers were arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
"Combating drunk driving is a top priority for the Police Department," Llewellyn said. "We use enforcement and education to try to reach out to drivers. ... Ultimately, it is each individual driver's responsibility to make that right decision and use good judgment."
In February, a suspected drunken driver nearly struck a county police officer who was arresting a drunken driver on Route 175. As the vehicle collided with the officer's police car, the officer jumped onto the roof to avoid being hit.
It was found that the driver, Jessica Rey, 25, of Elkridge, had a blood alcohol level more than 2 1/2 times the legal limit, according to police.
Of the four pedestrian deaths in the county this year, Wednesday's is the first that police did not attribute to pedestrian error.
In a nonfatal incident, two high school students were struck by a vehicle last month while trying to cross a street in Ellicott City. Police did not expect to charge the driver in that incident, who witnesses said was not speeding.