CHARLES TOWN –Jefferson County jurors next week will hear the case against the Maryland man charged with the death of his passenger after his 2011 Hyundai crashed head-on into a stone wall near Shepherd University’s campus early on Mother’s Day 2017.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Matt Harvey said the trial of Demetrius J. Steele, 30, of Landsdowne, Md., before Circuit Judge Steven Redding is set to begin Oct. 31 and will last at least two days.
Steele was indicted in January for driving under the influence causing death. The victim was Robert C. Johnson Jr., a 36-year-old Shepherdstown man who was a father of five.
Steele, if found guilty, could face a prison term of three to 15 years. He also could be fined between $1,000 and $3,000, according to West Virginia state code.
The crash occurred around 2:40 a.m. on May 14, 2017, just after the car crossed the Potomac River bridge into West Virginia near Shepherd Grade Road where there’s a bend in the road, according to police accounts at the time.
Johnson was a native of Kansas who worked at Berkeley Medical Center as a nurse anesthetist. He was taken by ambulance there after the crash.
Steele also was injured in the accident and was transported to Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown, Md.
The trial will happen in the county’s new courtroom space above the magistrate courtrooms.