A Maryland police captain recently issued a public statement, saying that his department is well-known for aggressively pursuing instances of suspected adult participation in alcohol related activities that involve underage drinking. The captain's comments were spoken in the aftermath of a tragedy that occurred in Bethesda after a Thursday night party. The incident has left an entire community mourning the loss of two teens. The crash has been labeled as an underage drinking tragedy and remains under police investigation.
A report issued to the public stated that a party had taken place at a private residence in North Potomac. Some time later, a vehicle reportedly traveling at an excessive rate of speed crashed into a tree and a nearby fence, then came to a crashing halt when it flipped upside down in the driveway of a private home in the vicinity. The occupants of the car were reported to have been guests at the earlier party.
Police who responded to the collision stated that alcohol was found in the crashed vehicle. Two passengers, both 18-year-old males, died as a result of the accident. The young man who was driving the car was transported to a hospital after suffering life-threatening injuries. One other occupant of the vehicle is said to have suffered minor injuries.
Police say that when they went to the home where the party had taken place, there were adults present at the time. They have reported that they are continuing to investigate whether those adults, or any others, participated in any way in the underage drinking party. In Maryland, if a child of minor age is killed in a motor vehicle accident that is caused by the negligence of another person, his or her immediate surviving family is able to file a legal claim on behalf of the decedent. If the driver of a vehicle is found to have been negligent in causing the accident, a claim against the driver and any separate owner of the vehicle involved in the crash would appear to be appropriate. In cases where adults are found to have provided alcohol to a minor, or allowed a minor to consume it, and that minor is later injured or killed in an accident, a civil claim against the adult may also be appropriate, depending upon the underlying circumstances.
Source: bethesdamagazine.com, "Investigation Continues into Party, Driver after Fatal North Potomac Collision", Andrew Metcalf, June 29, 2015