Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Gaithersburg man acquitted in Pennsylvania crash

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A Gaithersburg trucker has been acquitted of charges in a February accident that left a Honduran diplomat dead on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Sam P. Thompson, 32, is currently in the custody of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and is being held in Pennsylvania pending a ruling by an immigration judge, officials said. He is seeking legal residency, according to news reports.

Thompson could not be reached for comment. His lawyer, Emily Smarto, did not return calls for comment.

A jury found Thompson not guilty Aug. 2 after a four-day trial. He was charged with vehicular homicide and five traffic violations.

He was arrested Feb. 8 after his Freightliner truck tractor struck a Volkswagen, sending both vehicles careening from the turnpike about 20 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, police have said.

Nunia Ortiz Navarro, 31, a Honduran Embassy employee in Washington, D.C., died at the scene of the wreck.