Bond set for driver in fatal crash

Oriana Sherezade Motta Gaitan died as a result of a car crash July 21 in Dunkirk.

A Calvert County Circuit Court judge set bond for a man charged with negligent manslaughter at $100,000 on Tuesday.

The defendant, Daniel John Burridge, 35, of Bowie, was indicted last month in connection with the crash that claimed the life of a North Beach resident.

The single-vehicle crash, which killed Oriana Sherezade Motta Gaitan, 27, occurred July 21 in Dunkirk.

Burridge, who fled the scene after crashing the Dodge Neon SRT he was operating into a telephone pole on Southern Maryland Boulevard, has been held at the Calvert County Detention Center since his arrest.

On Tuesday, Burridge’s attorney, James Lamont Rhodes, noted his client is still employed as a maintenance technician by Comcast.

“They are still holding his job open,” said Rhodes, who added that Burridge, like Gaitan, had been serving in the Army National Guard.

Rhodes told Judge Mark Chandlee that his client has strong ties to Maryland and that with all his relatives nearby, he poses no flight risk.

“He has no serious priors,” or previous charges, Rhodes added.

Calvert County Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy J. Maher noted Burridge is facing “significant charges and is looking at significant incarceration.”

Maher also pointed out the defendant fled the crash scene, which necessitated a substantial manhunt.

“He was on the run for almost two hours,” said Maher. “The defendant was legally compelled to stay, but he chose to run.”

Burridge was seen by eyewitnesses exiting the Dodge after the crash, running into a nearby Wawa convenience store, cleaning up himself in the store’s men’s room, purchasing a 1-gallon jug of water and then leaving the store, according to court documents.

Deputies later located Burridge in the area of a nearby Methodist church and took him into custody.

“Burridge had the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath,” investigating officer Dfc. Jeffrey Hardesty stated in court documents.

The defendant was taken to Calvert Health Medical Center for an assessment and blood testing.

The search for Burridge following the crash involved officers from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, a K9 unit and a drone.

Gaitan was the mother of one and a native of Bogotá, Colombia. She was a specialist in the National Guard, which she joined shortly after graduating from high school.

The grand jury indictment charges Burridge with single counts of negligent manslaughter with an automobile, failure to immediately return and remain at the scene of an accident involving death, negligent automobile homicide while under the influence, homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and failure by vehicle driver to report death/vehicle damage to nearest police officer.

“I believe bond is appropriate in this case,” said Chandlee, who added if Burridge made bail he would be subject to GPS monitoring.

Any vehicle Burridge operates is required to be equipped with an interlock. Chandlee warned Burridge and Rhodes that the driving stipulations were to be adhered to and warned that “if I find out about it, I’ll revoke his bond.”

The state’s case against Burridge is scheduled to go to trial in January.

Twitter: @CalRecMARTY