BOOZE AND DRUG FATAL WRECK: Anne Arundel States Attorney Leitess gave impaired boater Shayne Smith only 18 months in the local jail for killing Nick Barton when crashing the boat into a channel marker


Drugs and Booze Wreck That Killed Beloved AACC Lacrosse Player

An Anne Arundel County judge approved an outrageous plea deal agreed to by Anne Arundel County States Attorney Anne Colt Leitess and sentenced 21-year-old Shayne Kenneth Smith to 18 months in jail for his role in a West River boat crash on June 4, 2022, that claimed the life of beloved Anne Arundel Community College student and lacrosse player Nick Barton, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced.

Smith, of 1016 South Creek View Court, Churchton, Maryland, was operating a white center-console power boat with five others on board while under the influence of marijuana and alcohol when he hit the support structure for a channel marker. The impact tossed all on board into the water at Parish Creek and West River. The crash resulted in five of the occupants of the vessel surfacing, with only Barton missing. A combined effort of Maryland State Police, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Coast Guard, and Anne Arundel fire and rescue services resulted in the recovery of Barton’s body later that evening.

Anne Colt Leitess, State’s Attorney for Anne Arundel County, Maryland


On June 7, 2023, court records show that Shayne Kenneth Smith entered a guilty plea to Negligent Manslaughter by Boat. He was sentenced to 10 years with all but 18 months suspended. In addition, Smith was sentenced to five years of supervised probation. He will not be allowed to operate a boat while on probation.

“The defendant made the deadly choice of operating a boat on a busy summer afternoon while not only intoxicated but as the captain of the boat, with disregard for the lives of six other young people on board,” Leitess said. “This poor decision took the life of an exemplary college student and lacrosse player who was just beginning his adult life and had a bright future ahead.


“This case reminds us that operating a vessel while impaired can be just as deadly as operating a motor vehicle on the road. The defendant needed to be the one person on the boat who abstained from substances. Instead, he risked everyone’s life by drinking and using marijuana before the crash.”


On June 4, 2022, Smith, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, was speeding before he crashed a white center console boat into a channel piling on West River near Parish Creek.

The force of the collision ejected six boaters from the vessel into the water. Five of the boaters resurfaced. Nick Barton was later located deceased.

Assistant State’s Attorney Carolynn Grammas prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County, with the Circuit Court Judge Stacy W. McCormack presiding. Mandeep Chhabra of Annapolis represented Smith in the plea deal, which gave him about the same sentence that many offenders for petty theft and shoplifting obtain.

Nicholas Antonio Barton’s Obituary

Nick Barton was killed by DUI boater Shayne Kenneth Smith on West River near Parish Creek on June 4, 2022
November 13, 2000 — June 4, 2022

Nicholas Antonio Barton, beloved son of Ed and Marie Barton, younger brother of Edward IV and Tyler of Crofton, MD, died suddenly in a boating accident on Saturday, June 4th 2022 on the West River.  Nick was a kind, compassionate, and loving young man who lit up a room as soon as he entered.  Nick was a gifted athlete playing lacrosse for DeMatha, South River, and most recently, Anne Arundel CC.  Nick was also an Honor Roll student, making the Dean’s list his last semester. He was twice selected to the AACC Athletic Directors Honor Roll. Nick’s positive attitude, funky style, and laidback personality were just a few of his attributes.  He was everyone”s best friend and brought such joy to all he encountered.  He was a bright light in this crazy world.  There are just no words to describe how much he will be missed. 

Nick is survived by his parents, Ed and Marie Barton, his brothers, Eddie and Tyler; his grandmother’s Rosita Dell’Isola and Lynn Barton; numerous cousins, aunts, and uncles. 

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Nicholas Barton Scholarship fund

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