UPDATE: LEONARDTOWN, Md. – One man has found himself pleading guilty for a fatal vehicle crash that occurred in Mechanicsville in 2019.

On August 6, 2021, a jury convicted Avery Leslie Stokes, 21 of Indian Head, of negligent vehicular manslaughter.

Many will recall the accident in the 40900 block of New Market Turner Road that sent Stokes and his girlfriend at the time, Alexandra Catherine Howard, to the trauma center with life-threatening injuries after their car went off the road and struck a tree. Their backseat passenger, who was later identified as Thomas Edward Douglass, was a hitchhiker the couple picked up, and  he was pronounced dead on the scene.

An investigation into the incident determined that Stokes had driven off the road and struck the tree intentionally, while aware that his passenger wasn’t using a seatbelt. He faced other charges in addition to vehicular manslaughter, however the jury only convicted Stokes on the previously noted charge.

Stokes is supposed to be sentenced on September 10, and is facing up to 10 years in jail and up to a $5,000 penalty.

UPDATE: October 28, 2019 – Continuing investigation in the fatal motor vehicle collision by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division and the Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit, it was determined this motor vehicle collision was a result of an intentional act.

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – On October 9, 2019, Avery Leslie Stokes, age 19 of Indian Head, was charged with First Degree Murder. Stokes remains incarcerated at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center on a no bond status.

On May 18, 2019, deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 40900 block of New Market Turner Road in the area of Rustin Family Way, for the reported motor vehicle collision.  Upon arrival a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier, with three occupants, was located off the roadway into a tree. The operator of the vehicle, Avery Leslie Stokes, age 18 of Indian Head, and the front seat passenger Alexandra Catherine Howard, age 18 of Mechanicsville, were flown to area trauma centers for incapacitating injuries. The rear seat passenger, Thomas Edward Douglas, age 63 of Mechanicsville, was pronounced deceased on scene.  The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.

Preliminary investigation determined the vehicle was traveling eastbound on New Market Turner Road when for unknown reasons the vehicle crossed the center-line, over-corrected and left the roadway striking a tree.  At this time driver error and lack of seat belt usage appear to be contributing factors in the fatal collision. Anyone who may have witnessed the collision or any events leading to the collision is asked to contact Corporal Brandon Foor at (301) 475-4200 extension *2265 or by email at Brandon.Foor@stmarysmd.com.