washingtonpost.com  > Metro > Maryland > Montgomery > Crime

Md. Driver Receives 10 Years in Fatal Crash

Maximum Penalty Imposed on Silver Spring Man in Death of 5-Year-Old

By David Snyder
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 10, 2004; Page B01

A Montgomery County judge yesterday sentenced a Silver Spring man to 10 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter for driving through a red light and slamming into another car, killing a 5-year-old girl.

Marbin Gomez-Delgado, 26, was northbound on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring about 6:10 p.m. on May 4, 2003, when he ran a red light at Forest Glen Road, police said. Gomez-Delgado's 1993 Isuzu Rodeo struck a Toyota Camry, crushing the rear right passenger side and killing Kelly Pierre of Bowie.

Gomez-Delgado was convicted May 27 of vehicular manslaughter. The sentence handed down yesterday by Circuit Court Judge Michael D. Mason was the maximum allowed by law.

Gomez-Delgado told police after the crash that he had consumed 19 beers in the 24-hour period before the accident, prosecutors said. Most of them had been consumed the night before the crash. At his trial, Gomez-Delgado was acquitted of a charge of vehicular homicide while impaired by alcohol.

He was on his way to see his girlfriend in Wheaton, according to police charging documents. A police reconstruction of the accident determined that he was driving 62 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to the documents.

Gomez-Delgado is a native of Guatemala and was in the United States illegally, prosecutors said. He was convicted in Prince George's County in October 1998 of distributing crack cocaine and pleaded guilty in May 1998 to auto theft in Montgomery. He also was in the country illegally at the time the arrests in those cases, prosecutors said.

It was unclear yesterday how Gomez-Delgado was able to remain in the country after two felony convictions, which typically lead to deportation, prosecutors said.

"I am here to apologize to the family," Gomez-Delgado said in court yesterday through a Spanish interpreter. "Especially to the mother of this little angel, who is with God right now. . . . I am asking from [the child's parents] to give me an opportunity to demonstrate to them that I am not the monster that they think I am."

Gomez-Delgado's attorney, Samuel Delgado, said in court yesterday that his client tried to commit suicide three times in jail while awaiting trial.

Kelly was born in Rockville in 1997, according to the program for the girl's funeral. She was a member of a church children's choir and was featured several times as a soloist, according to the program. She loved to read, the program said, and had started kindergarten at John Nevins Andrews School, a private school in Takoma Park, in September 2002.

At the time of the crash, prosecutors said, Kelly's mother, Danielle Pierre, was driving, and Kelly was in the back seat, reading a Dr. Seuss book aloud.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company