- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Anne Arundel County Del. Don H. Dwyer Jr. has been charged with operating a boat while drunk after an August collision that injured seven people, including three children.
Dwyer, 54, faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, according to police.
Dwyer (R-Dist. 31) of Pasadena had a blood alcohol content of .24, three times the legal threshold for intoxication, according to Department of Natural Resources Police, which investigated the incident for about four months. The investigation included interviews with witnesses and reconstruction of the accident, according to police.
None of the injuries were believed to be life-threatening, but a 5-year-old girl suffered a skull fracture and a 7-year-old boy suffered a broken arm.
In a statement Friday, the delegate said that while he regretted his error in judgment, his boat was struck and the other operator shared blamed.
“I sincerely wish for the continued recovery of all injured,” Dwyer said in the statement. “I intend to prove my personal temporary difficulties did not and will not affect my ability to represent my constituents fully and completely with character and trustworthiness in the future.”
Dwyer will not comment further until the case is concluded, according to the statement. A court appearance had not been scheduled as of Friday.
The delegate also was charged with reckless operation of a vessel, negligent operation of a vessel, a “Rules of the Road” violation and failure to keep his registration up to date, charges that carry a combined penalty of $940.
The operator of the second boat, Mark Harbin of Pasadena, was charged with a “Rules of the Road” violation, failure to keep his registration up to date and negligent operation of a vessel. He faces a total penalty of $490.
Neither man slowed down or took action to avoid the crash despite having ample time to do so, according to police.
Dwyer told reporters Aug. 23, the day after the collision on the Magothy River, that he had been drinking before the crash and had a blood alcohol level of .2. He said he regretted his actions and asked for forgiveness.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis said at the time that the legislature would defer any action on the matter until after the judicial process had concluded.