ELKTON — A woman accused of causing a chain-reaction crash that killed two Cecil County men near Chesapeake City in October 2018 is awaiting sentencing after accepting a plea deal, according to court records.
The defendant, Kimberly Ann Morgan, 30, of Chester, Pa., pleaded guilty to two counts of criminally negligent vehicular manslaughter on Monday during a pre-trial hearing in Cecil County Circuit Court. Morgan’s jury trial had been scheduled to start on Tuesday.
Criminally negligent vehicular manslaughter is punishable by up to three years in prison per conviction. Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Keith A. Baynes accepted Morgan’s guilty pleas and then set her sentencing for Nov. 30.
Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Sentman and Morgan’s defense lawyer, William G. Christoforo, negotiated the binding plea agreement.
In October 2019, a Cecil County grand jury handed up an 18-count indictment against Morgan. The indictment alleged that Morgan was under the influence of drugs and, or, alcohol at the time of the double-fatal crash — which occurred on Oct. 16, 2018 on Augustine Herman Highway (Route 213), near Spears Hill Road.
Richard Gestewitz, 53, of Charlestown, and his front-seat passenger, Charles Sutton, 70, of North East, were killed in the domino-effect collision.
Four other people, including Morgan, suffered injuries in the traffic accident.
Investigators arrested Morgan on Nov. 20, 2019, after a year-long Maryland State Police investigation that resulted in the indictment filed against her.
MSP officials reported that Morgan was driving a white Mitsubishi Galant in the northbound lane on Route 213, near the Chesapeake City Bridge, at approximately 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2018, when her car crossed the double-yellow centerline and entered the southbound lane.
Morgan’s car then crashed into Gestewitz’s southbound Mazda pickup truck, which, also occupied by Sutton, was towing a small boat on a trailer, according to police.
A third vehicle, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by Kenneth Haines, 60, of Elkton, was traveling south behind the Mazda when it struck that truck’s boat trailer after the first crash, police said.
At that point, police added, the boat ricocheted into the northbound lane, where a northbound Chevrolet Cobalt driven by Watson Tinch, 55, of Galena, also struck it.
Cecil County Department of Emergency Services paramedics pronounced Gestewitz and Sutton dead at the scene, according to police.
An MSP helicopter crew flew Morgan to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where doctors treated her for what investigators described at the time as “life-threatening injuries,” police said.
Meanwhile, her passenger, Caitlyn Little, 21, of Colora, was taken by ambulance to Christiana Hospital in Delaware for treatment of her injuries, police reported.
An ambulance crew drove Haines to Christiana Hospital for treatment of his injuries, while a different ambulance crew transported Tinch to Union Hospital in Elkton for treatment of his injuries, according to police.
The crash forced emergency workers to close a portion of Route 213 for several hours. Traffic was detoured onto nearby Spears Hill Road.
Gestewitz’s relatives told the Cecil Whig that Gestewitz and Sutton, a dear family friend, were avid outdoorsmen and that they were traveling south to make their last crabbing outing of the season, when they were killed in the chain-reaction crash.