DC police officer sentenced to 18 months in jail for fatal Lothian crash

A D.C. police officer was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison for his role in a deadly Maryland car crash in 2021.

Prosecutors said Austin Kirk Smith, of College Park, Maryland, was sentenced on two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter in the May 27, 2021, crash that killed 23-year-old Leah Mae Foster and 21-year-old Nicholas Raymond Harris.

Smith entered a guilty plea for the charges in January in the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

Smith was off-duty and driving a Dodge Charger when he hit the passenger side of an SUV, which was making a left turn from Md. Route 4 onto Lower Pindell Road in Lothian, killing Foster and Harris, prosecutors said.

According to an investigation, Smith was driving 105 mph at the time of the crash, which above the 55 mph speed limit posted at the intersection.

“The reckless manner in which the defendant was driving showed not only a lack of judgment, but a total disregard for human life,” Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a news release. “Had the defendant been driving even close to the speed limit, this tragedy could have been avoided.

She added that the sentence is an “example that anyone who commits such an irresponsible act will be held accountable, regardless of their position.”

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up