Three young adults died when a car crashed into a tree in Olney, Md., early Sunday morning. One was a senior at Magruder High School, and the other two were alumni.
Bail has been set at $500,000 for 20-year old Kevin Coffey, the alleged driver of the car that crashed early Sunday morning, killing 18-year-old Spencer Datt, 18-year-old Haeley McGuire, and 20-year-old John Hoover.
Michael McAuliffe, defense attorney for Kevin Coffey, says the weekend tragedy has touched many in the region.
"It's a breathtaking tragedy. It's just heart wrenching," McAuliffe says. "I have teenagers, I’'m sure everyone who has teenagers looks at this case and says my God that could be me. We have three dead young people and it’s a horrible tragedy."
Coffey faces multiple charges, including failure to remain at the scene of an accident, not assisting an injured person, and attempting to elude police on foot. Additional charges could be filed pending a blood alcohol test. Coffee could face up to 11 years in prison.
The crash, occurred late at night after witnesses say the driver had been to two parties, was avoidable, police say.
Authorities point out poor judgment is central to teen driving deaths, and they step up training and seminars for students every year in the spring. The state’s attorney for Montgomery County, John McCarthy, says parents need to do more than just hand over the keys.
"This is a tough time of year. If there's something good that can come out of this tragedy as we approach prom season, and beach week we should talk to our children," says McCarthy. "Talk to our kids about some of the risks that are there for them, because this a real human tragedy.”
Captain Thomas Didone is director of the Montgomery County Police Department's traffic division. His son was killed three years ago while riding in a car that got into an accident, and now he leads seminars at local high schools warning of the risks.
“When a parent signs for a kid to get their license, it's an awesome responsibility, and they have to make sure that they parent their child," he says.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story misstated the nature of an earlier accident. The accident from 2008 involving Capt. Didone's son was not related to drunk driving.