At-fault driver sent back to jail

Calvert County Courthouse

A St. Mary’s County woman who pleaded guilty in 2017 to single counts of negligent manslaughter with an automobile and failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving a fatality is back in jail.

On Friday, Lindsay Leanne Canter, 34, of California admitted in Calvert County Circuit Court that she violated her probation in early September when she went out drinking with friends to celebrate her birthday.

Canter, who was sentenced in September 2017 to 15 years in prison for her role in the December 2016 rear-end collision in Lusby that claimed the life of Ronald Joseph “Ronnie” Ball, was released from the Maryland Department of Corrections on April 24, according to a supervision summary from the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation.

The summary, submitted by parole and probation agent Amber Oliverio, stated Canter “was released to community supervision with a condition to totally abstain from alcohol, illegal substances and abusive use of any prescription drug. ... On Sept. 4, this agent received numerous calls from members of the community stating Ms. Canter was observed out over the weekend at several county bars. It was advised she was seen drinking and one caller stated ‘she was wasted.’ Shortly after taking these calls, the victim’s mother contacted the office with the same concerns.”

“She takes this violation very seriously,” said public defender Eric T. Abraham, who represented Canter at Friday’s hearing.

Representatives from a treatment facility where Canter has been seeking recovery since her release spoke on her behalf, affirming that re-incarcerating Canter would be counterproductive.

Oliverio told the court, “she seemed to be making good progress.”

In making a case for more jail time, Calvert County Deputy State’s Attorney Lee Ann Bell stated, Canter “took a life due to alcohol.”

The two-vehicle crash occurred on northbound Route 2/4 near Rousby Hall Road during the early morning hours of Dec. 15, 2016. According to court documents, the 2009 Nissan 370Z that Ball was driving was rear-ended by Canter’s 2012 Ford Mustang.

“Ball’s vehicle traveled off the roadway and overturned,” Dep. Timothy Mohler of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office stated in court documents. “Canter admitted to stopping at the scene, admitted to approaching Ball’s vehicle, admitted to seeing Ball covered in blood and possibly deceased and admitted to fleeing the scene. Canter told other witnesses of the crash she had a suspended license and needed to leave. Canter, a nurse, chose not to give medical attention to Ball.”

Emergency crews transported Ball to CalvertHealth Medical Center in Prince Frederick, where he was pronounced dead.

In March 2017, a nine-count indictment was handed down against Canter for her role in the crash.

All of the felony, misdemeanor and traffic-related counts referencing alcohol use were not prosecuted when Canter pleaded guilty to the two other charges.

E. Gregory Wells, who was then a circuit court judge in Calvert, imposed the 15-year sentence, suspending all but four years.

Canter “is out drinking because it’s her birthday,” Bell told the court. “She’s a serious threat to the public.”

“I know I can do well at this,” Canter said of her effort to avoid alcohol abuse. “I want to help people. I want to do better.”

Judge Mark Chandlee was unswayed, stating that he didn’t believe Canter was “being honest and truthful” and was, instead, “disappointed the court found out” about the reported drinking binge.

Canter began to sob when she realized Chandlee was sending her back to jail. Her wailing grew louder as she was handcuffed.

The judge ordered Canter to be jailed in the Calvert County Detention Center for 18 months for violating her probation. Upon her release, Canter will again be on supervised probation with the original sanctions.

“I believe this is appropriate to send a message to you,” Chandlee told Canter before she was led out of the courtroom.

Twitter: @CalRecMARTY

Twitter: @CalRecMARTY