A Perry Hall man could face up to 10 years in prison for striking and killing an elderly woman on Seven Courts Drive in January.
David Grayson French Jr. pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 to failing to remain on the scene of an accident resulting in death, which is a felony, according to Michael Fuller, a Baltimore County assistant state's attorney.
Fuller told Patch he is seeking a maximum sentence of 10 years. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Cox is expected to announce the sentence on Nov. 1.
The prosecution chose not to pursue two lesser charges, including a hit-and-run misdemeanor and traffic violation, which could have resulted in only five years of jail time and a fine, according to Fuller.
"We're choosing to move forward with the felony charge because obviously, he should have known that the accident caused extreme bodily harm," Fuller said.
"The facts in this case are overwhelming," he added.
How has the ongoing case impacted the Perry Hall community? Tell us in the comments.
Beverly Moore, a 68-year-old resident of Bourbon Court in Perry Hall, was killed while attempting to cross Seven Courts Drive shortly after 7 p.m. on Jan. 22.
Still holding groceries from a shopping trip at Weis Markets, a vehicle stopped to allow Moore to cross near the intersection of Lincolnshire Court, but a Ford 500 sedan swerved around the vehicle. The Ford 500 sedan struck and killed Moore, before leaving the scene and turning westbound on Joppa Road, according to police.
With the help of an anonymous tip, police located the Ford 500 sedan in the 1600 block of Denise Drive in Bel Air on Feb. 1, near a residence of French. Weeks later, police confirmed the investigation has been turned over to the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office.
Months passed and frustration among Moore's neighbors grew as the investigation wore on.
"Everybody was waiting for answers," said Charlie Armetta, a friend and neighbor of Moore. "Everybody wanted to know if they would catch him."
On the one-month anniversary of her death, neighbors said an arrest in the case would bring some consolation to the grieving neighborhood.
"We still feel the sadness. It's just so hard for us to understand how this happened," said Cindy Hill, who knew Moore for more than 20 years.
The public outcry that followed Moore's death drew attention to problems with speeding and recklessness on Seven Courts Drive.
Initially, the Parkville police precinct stationed additional police officers along the roadway. A speed display device was later temporarily installed, followed by a permanent speed camera in Seven Oaks Elementary's school zone.
Have traffic conditions on Seven Courts Drive improved since the hit-and-run? Tell us in the comments.
Nearly 12 weeks after Moore's death, police announced charges against 25-year-old French, a resident of the unit block of Sandstone Court in Perry Hall, as well as the 1600 block of Denise Drive in Bel Air.
State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger told Patch that the lengthy investigation was the result of gathering "enough evidence."
Neighbors of Moore expressed relief after the arrest, but continued to grieve. "So many people have suffered from this, so many," Hill said.
Community members had long speculated that the driver responsible for Moore's death was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
Fuller said, however, that because French was not located immediately after the accident, there is no evidence available on his physical state.
"Unfortunately, the fact that it was a hit-and-run means it's impossible to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor," Fuller said.