The drunk driving crash involving a local radio host Sunday in Abingdon was the culmination of several years of traffic violations, including a previous charge against him of driving under the influence of alcohol and a speeding incident which resulted in a crash.
Stephen G. Smith, 48, of Bel Air was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and several other traffic offenses after Maryland State Police said he crashed into a vehicle stopped at a red light on Route 24 at Interstate 95 shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday night.
Smith, who hosts an afternoon drive-time show on 98 Rock as “Stash,” admitted to battling a prescription pill dependency after sustaining a skull fracture in a fall at his home in 2007.
In Sunday’s crash, State Police said Smith was driving alone in a 2006 Nissan Quest was northbound on Route 24 at “an apparent high rate of speed” when it struck the rear of a 2011 Hyundai, which was stopped at a red light. The impact pushed the Hyundai into the rear of a 2009 Nissan SUV, also stopped at the red light.
According to a State Police news release, Smith’s Nissan “then traveled through the intersection and an additional 300 feet north of the collision scene.”
One of the occupants of the Hyundai Smith struck said it appeared to them as if Smith was initially attempting to leave the scene.
Lt. Charles Moore, commander of the state police’s Bel Air Barracks, told The Dagger that “momentum forced the vehicle ahead that distance” and that Smith did not attempt to flee.
Smith himself told a local media outlet that he had in fact removed the car from the intersection and waited for police to arrive.
Photos courtesy of Joshua Cowan, 32, of Baltimore – one of the five passengers in the vehicle.
The driver of the Hyundai, Heather Manto, 34, of Bel Air, and four passengers were taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where they were treated and released. The occupants of the Nissan SUV, Clinton Cottrell, 48, and Katherine Cottrell, 47, both of Bel Air, were not taken to a hospital, state police said.
Moore said it appeared as if Smith’s license was valid at the time of the crash, and was unclear whether Smith sustained any injuries in the crash. Moore said Smith was released from custody after signing the citations and was not formally booked.
Smith faces nine charges, including:
–Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
–Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se
–Driving While Impaired by Alcohol
–Negligent Driving of a Vehicle in a Careless and Imprudent Manner Endangering Property, Life, and Person
–Reckless Driving of a Vehicle with Wanton and Willful Disregard for the Safety of Persons and Property
–Failure to Obey Properly Placed Traffic Control Device Instructions
–Failure to Control Vehicle Speed on a Highway to Avoid a Collision
–Failure to Stop at a Circular Red Signal
–Failure to Maintain Required Security for Vehicle during Registration Period
Court records show Smith received two different speeding citations in March 2010 in Cecil County and outside Baltimore City, and was also cited for failure to obey a traffic control device in Aberdeen in April 2010, and failure to provide a registration card during a stop in May 2010 on Interstate 695. He also received a citation for failure to control his vehicle’s speed, leading to a crash in which no injuries were reported, in Churchville in June 2010. Smith was cited for speeding again in May 2011 on Route 43 at Perry Hall Boulevard in White Marsh.
On Oct. 28, 2011, Smith was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and negligent driving, among other offenses, at the intersection of Perry Hall Boulevard and Perry Ridge Court in Rosedale. He and was sentenced in April to probation before judgment on the alcohol charge, with supervised probation.
Nonetheless, he was again cited for speeding Jan. 25 on Cromwell Bridge Road in Baltimore County, and again on April 18 for driving on a suspended license in Baltimore City. On June 12, he received another citation for speeding and for failure to display registration after being stopped in Churchville.
Smith is scheduled to appear in Baltimore County District Court in Towson on Thursday in connection with the Jan. 25 speeding citation.
Smith’s whereabouts in the hours leading up to the accident have become the object of inquiry by those involved.
He was scheduled to appear at a “Biker Bash” event at Cancun Cantina in Hanover that afternoon, an event sponsored by 98 Rock. Pictures posted on the Cancun Cantina Facebook account appear to show him at the concert, and victims in the crash have reached out through social media to ask for information:
Friends, we need your help- if you know ANYONE that attended the biker bash and saw/interacted with Stash, please ask them to contact me or any of the guys who were involved in the accident. Additionally, if anyone knows where we can find photos or anything advertising the bar/radio promoting for people to get “shitty with stash” at the event- please forward to one of us asap- this information is vitally important. Thank you for your help.
However, Smith told a local newspaper that he had left his home northeast of Bel Air “minutes” before the crash, which occurred at least 10 miles away.
According to WBAL 1090 AM, management at WBAL and WIYY 97.9 FM said they do not comment on personnel issues.