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Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter for 2012 Crash

The man's blood tested positive for prescription medication at the time of the accident.

A Columbia man pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Howard County Circuit Court last week for his involvement in a fatal auto accident last February.

Richie Junior Burgess, 42, of the 12000 block of Little Patuxent Parkway, pleaded guilty to criminal negligent manslaught by motor vehicle in an accident that resulted in the death of Mary Ann Levant, 64, a staff member at Marriotts Ridge High School, according to a state's attorney's office spokesperson.

An analysis of blood drawn from Burgess on the night of the accident by Maryland State Police found he was driving under the influence of the prescription medication Alprazolam, also known as Xanax.

According to the statement of the facts in the case, a traffic expert determined that Burgess' Ford Explorer struck Levant's car on the driver's side door and drove her vehicle into a guardrail, after the Explorer crossed a protected portion of the eastbound Route 32 ramp from Route 29.

The traffic expert concluded the collision was attributed to Burgess being under the influence of Xanax and drifiting onto the ramp where Levant was traveling, according to the court documents.

Levant remained alive for four months after the collision, before dying in June as a result of injuries from the crash, according to an Explore Howard report.

Burgess is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29, according to the state's attorney's office spokesperson.

EL February 05, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Thanks for the update. For quite some time, rumor had circulated that Ms. Levant had caused the accident. Later we heard that might NOT be the case but we never heard the details. This man appears to have a history of trouble with the law. Now his poor choices have robbed someone of their wife, people of their friend, and a community of someone who truly cared about it. His guilty plea is a good thing - but there is no happy ending to this story.

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