ANNAPOLIS, MD. (WJZ) — A 29-year-old Queenstown man was sentenced to 21 years in prison Wednesday for his involvement in a fatal wrong-way crash last year in Annapolis.
On March 11, 2018, Christopher Dillehunt was driving a Ford Taurus on Route 50 when he took the exit onto Buschs Frontage Road. Dillehunt was driving 70 mph — 30 mph over the speed limit — and crossed the double yellow line to pass another slow-moving vehicle. That’s when he struck a Toyota Camry driven by Laurel Zeiler.
After Dillehunt collided with the Camry, his car began to spin out sliding sideways into a Ford F-150, driven by Kathi Ridgley.
All three cars had additional passengers inside.
Zeiler died from her injuries at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, while Ridgley sustained life-altering injuries, officials said.
Anne Arundel County police officers learned that before the crash, Dillehunt and his with passenger Tammy Lawson were using heroin. Medical units that arrived shortly after the crash gave Dillehunt two doses of Naloxone because he was unconscious and not breathing.
Dillehunt was charged and taken into custody that day.
He pleaded guilty to one count of negligent manslaughter in the death of Zeiler and two counts of second-degree assault for two surviving victims on August 29, 2019.
“This is another tragic case showing the deadly consequences made by an individual who chose to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs,” said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “A mother and daughter were making a routine trip to the convenience store when the defendant’s criminal actions caused the death of Laurel Zeiler. I hope that today’s sentence brings some sense of peace to the families and deters other drivers who think about driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”