The former University of Maryland student who struck and killed freshman Maria Fisher while driving on Route 1 was found guilty of speeding and fined $130 on Wednesday.
Police had previously determined that Elijah Shabazz, 25, was not at fault for the collision. Fisher did not have a walk signal when she ran across Route 1 at the Campus Drive intersection early in the morning of Oct. 1, 2017.
Based on surveillance footage, police estimate Shabazz was driving at 42 mph about 300 feet before the intersection — with a posted speed limit of 25 mph — and that he was going 29 mph when his vehicle struck Fisher.
Shabazz incurred three charges: driving a vehicle in excess of a reasonable and prudent speed on the highway, failing to control vehicle speed on the highway to avoid a collision and driving a vehicle on the highway at a speed exceeding the limit.
Each charge carried a recommended fine of $130, but the state dropped the first two in advance of Wednesday’s trial because the third charge was expected to have the greatest likelihood of a conviction, said assistant state’s attorney Christopher Monte, who handled the case.
During the trial at the Upper Marlboro Courthouse, defense attorney Todd deStwolinski said the crash was “a horrible accident that has affected my client greatly,” while Shabazz stood solemnly next to him in a blue suit.
deStwolinski declined to comment further after the trial.
The accident report said Shabazz remained at the scene of the crash, where an officer found him “hysterical and crying.”
Authorities say alcohol was not a factor in Shabazz’s operation of the vehicle. The police report lists his BAC as .02 — significantly below the state’s legal limit of .08 — and also says he was not distracted behind the wheel.
Shabazz had no prior traffic record, a fact that was presented to presiding judge Thurman Rhodes during the trial. Monte said traffic history is “part of the totality of circumstances the judges take into consideration.”
Monte said he had not discussed the Fisher family’s reactions to the charges or trial as of Wednesday.
There are still details that remain unknown about the night before and morning of the crash. Fisher was seen leaving Cornerstone Grill and Loft after a night out with friends, but where she spent the time between leaving the College Park bar and running across the Route 1 intersection several hours later is still unclear.
Celia Snipes, Fisher’s roommate, received a distraught call at 6 a.m. from Fisher, saying she had woken up in a place she didn’t recognize. She was still on the call when Shabazz’s SUV hit her.