An Annapolis man was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised probation for a fatal crash that killed one person and injured six others, the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Arthur Carter Jr. was killed in the March 8, 2020, crash in which Carl Behler, 67, was under the influence of drugs and driving on East College Parkway in Annapolis when he struck multiple bicyclists, including Carter, with his 2015 GMC Yukon, a news release said. The crash also left Jeffrey Adler with life-threatening injuries, as well as injuring Kathleen Hayes, Nigel Samaroo, Christopher Bradshaw, Joseph Hikel, and Jonathon Korin.
Behler pleaded guilty last week to vehicular manslaughter, causing life-threatening injuries while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance and driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance.
Korin, who is also president of Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, said there is nothing that can compensate for the loss of Carter.
”We are pleased the sentence aligned with what the state’s attorney recommended,” Korin said. “It takes a dangerous driver off the streets which is vital to the public’s safety.”
Korin is hoping this sentencing sends a clear message to drivers to not drive impaired. Impaired Drivers put their own life’s at risk and people outside of the vehicle that are walking, running or biking, he said.
“The defendant’s decision to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs was in complete disregard for the lives and safety of others,” said State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “He robbed the parents of Arthur Carter, Jr. the opportunity to create more memories with their only son. I wish the other victims a speedy recovery and hope that this sentence provides the Carter family and the families and friends of the other cyclists with a sense a solace as they continue to heal from this tragic loss.”
Police learned that prior to the collision, Behler had been on a two-day cocaine binge when he decided to take Xanax in order to bring him down from the cocaine, according to the release. After taking the Xanax, he drove to a nearby grocery store and, after leaving the store, was feeling tired and began nodding off behind the wheel.
Behler was driving eastbound on East College Parkway when seven cyclists were riding single file in the correct direction westbound on the shoulder line of East College Parkway.
Behler passed out, crossed the centerline and struck the first two cyclists, according to the release. Carter was killed on impact and Adler was airlifted to University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. The five other cyclists suffered minor physical injuries.
After the collision, Behler said multiple times that he woke up after hitting something. He stated he had not slept in 24 hours, had been working all night and had taken Tylenol PM. Because of the life-threatening injuries, Maryland State Police obtained a mandatory blood test from Behler which showed cocaine, alprazolam and benzoylecgonine (a cocaine metabolite) in his system.
The Honorable Pamela Alban presided over the case. Assistant State’s Attorney Carolynn Grammas prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.
Capital Gazette staff contributed to this article.