ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — An Annapolis man was sentenced last Friday to 20 years in prison for striking two bicyclists, killing one, and causing minor injuries to five others while under the influence of Xanax and cocaine, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced Thursday.

Carl Behler pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, causing life-threatening injuries while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance and driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance.

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“The defendant’s decision to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs was in complete disregard for the lives and safety of others. He robbed the parents of Arthur Carter Jr. the opportunity to create more memories with their only son,” Leitess said in a statement. “I wish the other victims a speedy recovery and hope that this sentence provides the Carter family and the families and friends of the other cyclists with a sense of solace as they continue to heal from this tragic loss.”

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On March 8, 2020, county police officers responded to East College Parkway in Annapolis for the report of a crash involving the bicyclists and a 2015 GMC Yukon. Police found Behler, 67, was headed eastbound and the cyclists were heading westbound in a single fire on the shoulder. Investigators determined Behler passed out, crossed the center line and struck the first two cyclists. Carter died on impact. Jeremy Adler was flown to Shock Trauma with critical injuries. The other five cyclists suffered minor injuries.

Police learned that Behler was coming off a two-day cocaine binge and took Xanax to bring himself down from the cocaine. After taking the Xanax, Behler drove to a nearby grocery store and began nodding off on his way back.

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After the crash, Behler made multiple statements that he woke up after hitting something. He claimed he had not slept in 24 hours, had been working all night and had taken Tylenol PM. State troopers obtained a blood test from Behler which found that he had cocaine, alprazolam (the active ingredient in Xanax) and benzoylecgonine (a cocaine metabolite) in his system.

CBS Baltimore Staff