A Baltimore man was sentenced to 22 years in prison on drugs and weapons charges as prosecutors say he was found guilty of possessing drugs when he fled from police and later crashed head-on into another car, killing the driver.
Ryan Hazel, 27, was sentenced Thursday after he was found guilty of 11 charges, including drug offenses and unlawfully receiving a detachable magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office wrote in a news release.
The sentence will be served consecutively along with a previous 10-year sentence after he was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in early 2019 in a related case.
His case was highlighted in 2017 by then-Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who said Hazel was a known gang member who shouldn’t have been released from prison when he was convicted of a different firearms offense in March 2015.
Megan Lewis, Hazel’s attorney, wrote in a statement that Hazel has accepted responsibility for Hall’s death by pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter, but maintains that the drugs and weapons seized at the scene were not his.
“Mr. Hazel is very remorseful for the death of Ms. Hall. He has taken responsibility for his involvement by pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter, but has consistently maintained that he did not possess the guns and drugs seized at the scene," Lewis wrote in an email. "We will be seeking review of both the conviction and sentence for those charges.”
The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office wrote that on Aug. 10, 2017, Hazel was driving a Nissan Maxima at about 11:15 p.m. with the vehicle’s owner in the passenger seat when officers tried to pull the vehicle over for driving without headlights.
As an officer attempted to pull Hazel over in the area of the 1600 block of W. Lexington St., the office wrote, Hazel sped off when the officer exited his vehicle. Police say officers pursued him for a brief period before calling off the pursuit to avoid causing a crash.
Hazel continued to drive at a high rate of speed down South Mount Street “while ignoring all traffic control devices,” the office wrote, and crashed head-on into a vehicle.
The driver of the second vehicle, Margaret Hall, died at the scene as a result of her injuries, the office wrote, while Hazel attempted to run away from the scene.
Hazel fell about 25 feet away from the scene, the office wrote, and investigators recovered 21 grams of heroin, 2.5 grams of cocaine, and pills of oxycodone and alprazolam from the scene.
Police also recovered a loaded 9mm handgun with an illegal 50-round capacity magazine carrying 35 bullets, the office wrote.