The son of Harford County Council President Billy Boniface had a blood alcohol level between three and a half and four times the legal limit when he crashed his pick-up truck through a fence at the family’s Darlington farm last month, according to a report from the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Benjamin Boniface, 20, died of “multiple injuries” sustained in the early morning crash on June 18, including serious wounds to his face and chest, according to the autopsy report.
Toxicology tests run by the medical examiner’s office took four samples from various areas and found blood alcohol levels in Boniface’s body ranging from 0.27 percent to 0.34 percent. Those levels would not have risen after his death, according to Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Pamela Southall, and reflect his blood alcohol content at the time of the crash.
The legal limit in Maryland above which an adult can be charged with driving under the influence is 0.08 percent, or 0.02 percent for minors such as Boniface.
No illegal drugs were found in Boniface’s system at the time of the crash, according to the report. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office said the same thing in its death investigation report about the crash but, at the time, inquiries into whether alcohol played a role were directed to the medical examiner’s report.
The autopsy report did not specify a time of death, and such reports do not usually include that information, according to representatives of the medical examiner’s records department.
According to the death investigation report prepared by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, a night watchman heard Boniface’s pick-up truck entering Bonita Farm on Harmony Church Lane in Darlington at approximately 1:30 a.m. June 18.
That same night watchman later found the truck at approximately 4:15 a.m. The vehicle had failed to negotiate a curve in the farm’s long driveway and crashed through a fence, shards of which penetrated the windshield, fatally injuring Boniface. The night watchman and Billy Boniface administered CPR before calling EMTs, who pronounced Benjamin Boniface dead at 4:58 a.m.
Sheriff’s Office investigators at the time could not specify whether the accident happened shortly after Boniface was heard returning home, or shortly before his vehicle was found. Agency spokeswoman Monica Worrell repeatedly directed requests on the matter to the medical examiner’s office; however, the office’s records department said specific times of death are not included in autopsy reports.
Billy Boniface has kept a low profile since the accident, and did not appear at the council’s June or July meetings. The council, which has been headed by Vice-President Dick Slutzky at its last two meetings, will not meet again until Sept. 4.
At its final summer meeting last week, District C Councilman Jim McMahan read a statement from the Boniface family which appears below:
I have been asked to convey the following thoughts tonight from President Boniface. No family is ever prepared for a tragedy the magnitude of which President Boniface and his family have had to endure. President Boniface has asked me to convey to everyone how much he and his family have appreciated the heartfelt condolences from one and all.
Ben dearly loved the Deer Creek, where he spent many an hour kayaking and playing his guitar. In particular, your thoughtful expressions of generosity to the memorial fund created to honor Ben are greatly appreciated by his family. Your contributions will be used to protect the beauty and tranquility of the lower Deer Creek. It will take a little time to get through all the thank yous, but in the meantime, Billy and Barb wanted me to express their gratitude to one and all on behalf of the entire Boniface family. Thank you.
Contributions to the memorial fund set up in Boniface’s memory to support conservation efforts on Deer Creek can be sent to:
Memorial Fund for Ben Boniface
c/o Harford Bank
8 W. Bel Air Ave.
Aberdeen MD 21001