Prosecutors have filed manslaughter charges against a Washington, D.C. police officer who is accused of driving recklessly in a 2021 Lothian crash that killed a couple in their 20s. .
Following an Anne Arundel County Police traffic investigation Austin Kirk Smith, 26, of College Park was charged on March 25 with manslaughter and reckless driving, according to police and prosecutors.
The charges came nearly a year after Leah Mae Foster, 23, of Chesapeake Beach, and Nicholas Raymond Harris, 21, of Lothian, died of injuries sustained in the crash at the intersection of Route 4 and Lower Pindell Road on May 27, 2021, police said at the time.
Smith is an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C., the agency confirmed Thursday. He was not arrested following the incident and did not have an attorney listed in court records. He is scheduled for a status conference June 10.
A preliminary investigation after the crash had ruled that Foster, who was driving an SUV with her boyfriend, Harris, in the passenger seat, failed to yield while making a left turn onto Lower Pindell Road, and the two were hit by a Dodge Charger operated by Smith.
But a crash reconstruction review of the crash led to the charges against Smith in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in March, according to Anne Arundel State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Tia Lewis. The police department and the prosecutors’ office did not comment further on the matter.
Foster and Harris were both graduates of Northern High School in Calvert County. They had known each other for most of their lives, but had only recently started dating at the time of the crash, said Crystal Harris, Nicholas Harris’ mother.
“Watching them was like watching the Hallmark Channel,” Crystal Harris said. Her son had “never brought a girl home” before Foster, and the two were “like two peas in a pod” during their brief relationship.
Now almost a year since the crash, her son, who earned the nickname “Big House” while playing defense on Northern’s varsity football team, is being honored with a special football tournament this weekend in Calvert County.
The crash has “taken everything out of me,” Crystal Harris said.