Maryland man changes plea for fatal DUI trial

West Virginia

The trial for a fatal DUI incident took a turn after the man charged changed his plea.

Demetrius Steele, 29, was driving from Hagerstown to Shepherdstown on May 14, 2017, when he crashed his car into a rock wall near Shepherd University, killing his passenger, Robert Johnson Jr., 36.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Harvey says the facts of the case show that Steele was operating a car in excess of 100 mph and had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit.

Steele’s trial was scheduled to begin on October 31, but he changed his plea to guilty the day before his trial was to begin. Harvey says he is seeking the maximum penalty.

“Robert doesn’t get to go home,” he said. “Three years before he’s eligible for parole for a life taken that could’ve been avoided, it’s not enough time, but that’s all the time that I can give him.”

Steele’s sentencing will be on January 22 at 10 a.m. at Jefferson County Courthouse. He is indicted on one count of DUI resulting in death, facing three to 15 years in prison. 

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