A 29-year-old Crofton man has been indicted on a felony count of automobile manslaughter, and is being held without bond after a state’s attorney asserted he should stay in custody due to ties to a foreign country and failure to provide evidence of his lawful presence in the United States.
In a media release issued Wednesday evening, the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office said Martin Martinez-Ballinas was indicted Friday by an Anne Arundel County grand jury on a count of automobile manslaughter and other offenses related to a Feb. 24 motor vehicle collision, which resulted in the death of 21-year-old James Ray Walden III, a lance corporal in the U.S. who was stationed at Fort George G. Meade.
The state’s attorney alleges that the collision was caused by Martinez-Ballinas while he was driving a 2007 BMW 335i southbound on Patuxent Road. The driver of the BMW was going approximately 65 mph in a 35 mph zone when he lost control of his car along a curve, according to the state’s attorney, crossing the center line of the road and colliding with an oncoming motorcycle, which was being driven by Walden.
Police responded to the collision at 3:36 p.m. Walden was declared dead at the scene at approximately 3:45 p.m., according to the release. Martinez-Ballinas immediately fled the scene on foot, according to the state’s attorney’s office, and was found by a police helicopter and a police dog about a half-mile away, hiding outdoors between large stacks of concrete pallets.
According to Carol Parreco, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney, Martinez-Ballinas has been in custody since the night of the incident.
Online court records did not list an attorney for Martinez-Ballinas.
The state’s attorney’s office asserted that Martinez-Ballinas stay in custody “due to the fact that he did not provide credentials establishing his lawful presence in the United States, his close ties with a foreign country (including a foreign passport) and his failure-to-appear for an earlier unrelated charge,” according to the release.
According to Mandy Tabor, the administrative assistant to Department of Detention Facilities Superintendent Terry Kokolis, the Anne Arundel County Detention Center received a detainer request for Martinez-Ballinas from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The issue of detainer requests has become a controversial topic as President Donald Trump has pushed for stricter enforcement of immigration laws and targeted cities who do not comply with orders to hold individuals suspected of violating immigration law.
The release did not state the foreign country to which Martinez-Ballinas is connected.
Following an April 19 hearing, Circuit Court Judge Stacy McCormack ordered Martinez-Ballinas to be held without bail at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center.
“My office takes vehicle deaths very seriously and, when the evidence provides, we will pursue these types of cases to the fullest extent allowed by law,” said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams.
The charges against Martinez-Ballinas include negligent manslaughter by automobile or boat, which carries a penalty of 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine; criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle or vessel, which carries a penalty of three years in jail and a $5,000 fine; failure to remain at the scene of an accident, which carries a penalty of 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine; failure to immediately return and remain at the scene of an accident involving death, which carries a penalty of five years in jail and a $5,000 fine; as well as other related traffic charges.
Walden’s father, Jim Walden, said he is upset Martinez-Ballinas is being charged with manslaughter and not homicide.
“It’s absolutely horrible,” Walden said. “It’s like a stake in your heart.”
A status conference for the case has been scheduled for June 23, according to the release.
Credit: By Rachael Pacella – email@example.com
(Copyright (c) 2017 Capital Gazette Newspapers)