UPDATE: Junkie Christopher Dillehunt now sentenced to 21 years in prison; it took killing Laura Zeller before Maryland got tough with this druggie creep
Circuit Court Judge Robert J. Thompson sentenced Christopher Dillehunt, 29, of Queenstown to 21 years in prison for one count of negligent manslaughter in the death of Laurel Zeiler and two counts of second-degree assault for two surviving victims.
“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.”
Shortly after the collision, medical units arrived on the scene and administered two doses of Naloxone, a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdoes, to Dillehunt because he was unconscious and not breathing.
During the investigation, Anne Arundel County police officers learned that prior to the crash Dillehunt, and his passenger had been using heroin. Shortly after the collision, medical units arrived on the scene and administered two doses of Naloxone, a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdoes, to Dillehunt because he was unconscious and not breathing. He was then arrested and charged after the investigation was concluded.
Dillehunt pleaded guilty to the charges on August 29, 2019.
Assistant State’s Attorney Carolynn Grammas prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.
Ironically, Anne Arundel County States Attorney Anne Colt Leitess waxes poetic about what a great outcome this is for a junkie driver to be sent to prison for 21 years for highway murder when she has a long career as a prosecutor handing out weak plea deals to impaired drivers. Maryland’s prosecutors are all guilty of allowing dangerous DUI offenders to be set free with light outcomes rather than be in jail.
DWI HIT PARADE: Conviction of five-time DUI driver Kevin Michael Turner yields shocking plea deal by Calvert States Attorney Andrew Rappaport six months before his appointment as Judge
JUNKIE KILLED WOMAN IN HEROIN HELL RIDE / Repeat offender Christopher Dillehunt was given lenient plea deals by Queen Anne’s Prosecutor Lance Richardson for drug dealing and DUI
Not all heroin deaths are fatal overdoses; an innocent motorist died when struck by a heroin-using operator of a vehicle that crossed the center line and careened into two vehicles on Busch’s Frontage road
THE PASSENGER IN THE HELLRIDE VEHICLE FACES MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE FOR DEALING DEADLY FATAL DOSE TO A WOMAN IN EASTON MOTEL IN 2017
ANNAPOLIS, MD. – Ten years of plea deals and easy treatment by the Queen Anne’s County States Attorney has resulted in a convicted drug dealer and DUI driver blasting down the service road next to Rt. 50, Busch’s Frontage Road, in Annapolis and crashing into a car, killing the driver in the process. Anne Arundel County Police pinpointed speed, of which Christopher Dillehunt has been convicted twice of speeding at dangerously high rates, and heroin, of which Dillehunt has a prior conviction for possession with the intent to distribute, as being factors in the deadly crash.
Anne Arundel Police stated in a report on a fatal crash that took place on March 11, 2018, at 1:54 pm that an Arnold woman was killed due to the actions of another driver who was using heroin and speeding out of control, sideswiping her car and careening into another vehicle.
Police say that officers responded to a report of a multi-vehicle crash in the 300 block of Busch’s Frontage Road in Annapolis.
The 2012 Ford Taurus, operated by Christopher Michael Dillehunt, 27, of 135 Aker Road, Queenstown, Md., was eastbound on Busch’s Frontage Road at a high rate of speed when it appears to have crossed the centerline, sideswiped the 2000 Toyota Camry before rotating and being t-boned by the 2004 Ford F-150.
The driver of the Camry and Dillehunt and his passenger, Tammy Lynn Lawson, of Queenstown, Md., were flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.
In an even more bizarre revelation from Maryland Court records is the indictment of Lawson on felony drug-dealing charges in Talbot County Circuit Court along with counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment by way of a warrant issued on Nov. 29, 2017. Lawson and Steven Buchanan, 31, of Centreville were charged in the overdose death of a woman at the Days Inn on May 25, 2017. Lawson was arrested and jail and released on Dec. 27, 2017. Lawson has a jury trial set for May 2, 2018.
The remaining occupants of the other vehicles were taken by ground to Anne Arundel Medical Center with minor injuries. The driver of the Camry, Laurel Dawn Zeiler, 81, of Arnold, Md., later died of her injuries and was taken to the Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
Cynthia L. Whittington, 57, the daughter of Zeiler, suffered a minor injury. Kathy Ridgely, 29, of Lothian and her passenger, Aaron J. Catterton, 30, also of Lothian, suffered minor injuries, report police.
The preliminary cause of the crash was the failure to remain right of center and excessive speed by the driver of the Taurus. Police said that it is also believed that heroin use is a contributing factor. The Traffic Safety Section is handing the investigation and any charges will be after review by the Anne Arundel States Attorney who may find that Dillehunt has run out of “second chances”.
Dillehunt was cited for ripping across Rt. 50 eastbound at mile marker 45 at 85 mph in a 55-speed zone on Aug. 14, 2017, at 5:07 pm, during the height of heavy rush hour traffic, by Officer L. Posey of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
With Stevensville attorney E. Sean Poltrack representing him in Queen Anne’s District Court on Nov. 17, 2017, to arrange a plea deal with the Queen Anne’s States Attorney, Dillehunt entered a guilty plea. THE DEAL: A fine of $84.00. Dillehunt was operating the same 2012 Ford Taurus which he was operating when he killed Laurel Dawn Zeiler on March 11, in the crash on Busch’s’ Frontage Road.
Dillehunt’s quest to kill has a lethal background in his arrest for DUI by Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Deputy B. Martz on Jan. 5, 2017. Dillehunt’s charges for the day included driving under the influence of alcohol and or drugs, driving faster than reasonable and prudent and driving at 74 mph in a 55-mph speed zone.
In a plea deal in Queen Anne’s Circuit Court arranged by Poltrack with Queen Anne’s States Attorney Lance Richardson, Dillehunt entered a guilty plea to a single DUI charge. THE DEAL: ZERO fine and all other charges were dropped and Dillehunt was allowed unsupervised probation for two years, which he used to kill the innocent Laurel Zeiler on March 11, 2018.
When arrested by Maryland State Trooper Matthew Flamma on June 16, 2013, and charged with assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and trespassing, Dillehunt entered into a plea deal in Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court on Oct. 1, 2013, when he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest. THE DEAL: Zero fine and a sentence of 18 months in jail with all the jail time suspended and given credit for 107 days of time served in jail while awaiting trial.
Dillehunt has been working up to killing someone for years as when he was charged by Queen Anne’s Sheriff DFC Zachary House with five drug-dealing charges, he entered a guilty plea to possession with the intent to distribute drugs in Queen Anne’s Circuit Court on July 14, 2017. This outcome was to an offense that took place on Oct. 29, 2008, according to court records. THE DEAL: Ten days in jail was the sentence agreed to in the plea deal by the Queen Anne’s States Attorney Richardson. Sentencing took place on April 7, 2009, with a violation of the terms of probation noted on June 15, 2012, and a warrant issued. Another violation of probation was issued on June 20, 2013, and a bench warrant issued. Dillehunt was jailed again on Oct. 3, 2013. Another probation violation was noted on May 12, 2017, and he was jailed again on July 7, 2017.
OBITUARY OF LAUREL D. ZEILEER
Laurel D. Zeiler, 81, a lifetime resident of Arnold, MD passed away on Sunday, March 11, 2018. Laurel was born on March 22, 1936, to the late Glenn and Opal Keatley in Speedway, West Virginia. She was a sister of the Knights of Pythias and a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion Post 175. Laurel was an avid reader and could often be found with a book in her hands or listening to a book on tape. She enjoyed the Orioles, Ravens, NASCAR and shopping, shopping, shopping. In addition to her parents Laurel was preceded in death by her husband, Norman Zeiler and a son, Randall Whittington. She is survived by her children, Kenny Bush of Whitehouse, TN, Laurie (Jack) DeVaughn of Chester, MD and Cynthia Whittington of Arnold, MD; grandchildren, Lauren Knupple, Randall Bush, Bryan and Joey DeVaughn; one great-grandchild; siblings, Randall Keatley of Kingsman, AZ, Nelda Spies of Arnold, MD, Glenda Williams of Edgewater, Andrea Clayton of Severna Park, Darrell Keatley of Daytona, FL and Debra Boswell of Annapolis and a step-daughter, Joyce Zeiler-Ramey of Arnold. Friends are invited to celebrate Laurel’s life on Monday March 26 from 11 a.m. until her memorial service begins at 1 p.m. at the Kalas Funeral Home, 2973 Solomon’s Island Rd., Edgewater.