BEL AIR — An Elkton woman has received a four-year prison term for intentionally driving over a rival teenage girl in an Aberdeen convenience store parking lot in September.
Harford County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Mahoney imposed a maximum 25-year sentence on the defendant, Shyria Nicole Watson, 21, on Wednesday for first-degree assault and then suspended 21 years of it, according to court records.
The judge ordered Watson to serve three years of supervised probation after completing her four-year term, which she will serve in a Maryland Department of Corrections prison.
In April, after a three-day-long trial, a Harford County Circuit Court jury found Watson guilty of that first-degree assault charge.
That guilty verdict indicates that the jury concluded it was Watson’s intent to assault the 17-year-old girl by striking her with the white Nissan that Watson was driving at about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 30 in a convenience store parking lot in the 700 block of South Philadelphia Boulevard (U.S. Route 40) in Aberdeen, where Watson reportedly had been arguing with the teen, who is a convenience store employee.
However, the jurors did not believe that it was Watson’s intent to kill the teen or to cause serious injuries that could result in permanent injury or death — based on the jury acquitting Watson of attempted first-degree murder, which is punishable by up to life in prison, and of attempted second-degree murder, which carries a maximum 40-year sentence.
Harford County Assistant State’s Attorney Angela Diehl prosecuted Watson, who was represented by David Henninger, an assistant public defender.
After the incident, a Maryland State Police helicopter crew flew the injured teen to University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore, where she remained hospitalized for at least two days before being discharged. Investigators had described the teen’s injuries as “life threatening” at the time.
Witnesses told investigators that Watson drove toward the teen, amid a heated argument, as if she were threatening to strike her, an Aberdeen Police Department spokesman reported shortly after the incident.
The teen hopped onto the hood of the approaching vehicle and started pounding on the windshield with her fist, police said. At that point, police added, Watson accelerated and quickly stopped, knocking her teen rival onto the pavement.
Watson pulled forward and then struck the victim with the vehicle, before driving away from the scene, police reported.
While at the scene, APD investigators met with the owner of the Nissan, police said. That person, who is a relative of Watson’s, was able to contact Watson and convince her to return to the scene, police added.
Investigators noted that the Nissan had damage to the hood and windshield when Watson drove back to the convenience store parking lot, according to police. Officers arrested Watson at the scene.
Shortly after Watson’s arrest, an APD spokesman confirmed that Watson and the teen had had an altercation at that same convenience store in July, prompting someone to call police and officers, in turn, responded to the scene.
However, no one witnessed that incident, one in which Watson and the teen reportedly threw items at each other and Watson allegedly tried to pepper-spray her rival, according to the spokesman, who further reported that no one was injured.