A former FBI agent was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in Prince George’s County on Thursday as a Circuit Court jury found him responsible for a February 2011 fatal crash involving an 18-year-old in Brandywine.
Adrian Johnson, 37, of Brandywine was found to be speeding and under the influence of alcohol on North Keys Road on Feb. 7, 2011, when he struck and killed Gwynn Park High School graduate Lawrence Garner Jr., also of Brandywine, according to Prince George’s police.
Garner’s friend Robert Mitchell, 19, was a passenger at the time and sustained serious injuries, county police have said.
Johnson was indicted by a grand jury in August 2011 following the conclusion of an accident reconstruction report, which showed that Garner was pulling out of a driveway turning left onto North Keys Road when Johnson struck him.
In addition to vehicular manslaughter, Johnson also is convicted of homicide by a motor vehicle while intoxicated, causing a life-threatening injury while impaired by alcohol and related charges, according to the county’s state’s attorney’s office.
The jury reached a verdict in the four-day trial on Thursday, when state prosecutor Sam Danai told the jury in closing arguments that there is enough evidence in the case to show Johnson’s gross negligence.
“This was a collision, not an accident. This was 100 percent inevitable,” said Danai while displaying a senior class photo of Garner on a projector. “The moment he got into his vehicle while drunk, speeding and driving recklessly, it was inevitable that he would either kill himself or another and it just happened to be Mr. Garner.”
Johnson was found to have been traveling 18 miles per hour over the 40 miles per hour limit and displayed a .25 blood alcohol level from a breathalyzer test after the incident, according to prosecutors.
Johnson’s defense attorney, Robert Bonsib, said whether his client had been drinking or not, the incident was unavoidable given that Garner pulled out onto North Keys Road without waiting for Johnson to pass.
“This was an accident and it was unavoidable when Garner decided to move,” Bonsib said. “This was an accident. This was an accident. This was an accident. It was an unfortunate, deadly, horrible accident, but it was an accident.”
Garner’s family members said he graduated from Gwynn Park in 2010 and was studying criminal justice at the College of Southern Maryland to become a Maryland state trooper.
Garner’s father, Lawrence Garner Sr., said his son was his best friend.
“He always laughed. He was my best friend. My everything,” he said. “I feel a great deal of relief. I felt that justice was served.”
Mitchell, who sat in on the trial, declined to comment after the verdict.
State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said she felt that justice was served and noted that the state did not take the case lightly given that the defendant was a federal agent.
“This is what justice looks like. The family has now said they can now go on and heal,” she said. “He had been drinking and was speeding. These actions are 100 percent avoidable.”
Johnson faces up to 13 years in prison.