Car Bore Signs of Hit-and-Run, Court Is Told

Lawyer Leonard Stamm in Upper Marlboro Court trial in Prince Georges County about blood alcohol level

Witnesses at Ex-Curry Spokesman’s Trial Say Impact With Victim Caused Damage

By Susan Saulny
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 19, 1996 ; Page D03

The hood and windshield of Brian T. Flood’s mangled blue Pontiac bore telltale indentations from striking the victim’s body in a fatal hit-and-run accident, Prince George’s County police officers testified yesterday.

Prosecutors showed Circuit Court jurors detailed photographs of imprints that Evelyn Virginia Manning’s head and body left on the hood of a county-owned car Flood had been driving. A circular shattered area on the upper left side of the windshield possibly was caused by impact with Manning’s arm, police said.

“It was her body that caused this damage to the vehicle,” Cpl. Steve Markley said, referring to the pictures.

The testimony yesterday contrasted with Wednesday’s opening statement by an attorney for Flood, a former spokesman for the Prince George’s county executive. His lawyer, Leonard R. Stamm, said Flood did not see Manning, 51, “before, during or after” the Dec. 19, 1994, accident on Route 202 in Cheverly. “We deny that he knew he was involved in anything other than a simple property damage accident,” Stamm said.

Flood, 37, is charged with 13 traffic offenses, including vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, in an accident in which his car struck Manning while she was outside her stalled car on the busy road. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Markley said his calculations indicated that after Manning was sandwiched between her trunk and Flood’s hood, her body was pushed 107 feet by the 40-mph impact.

Emergency technician Steven Hess of the Prince George’s fire department testified that he had to cut Manning’s body loose because it was tangled in her car’s undercarriage.

“The details of her imprints are very shocking to us,” said Manning’s daughter, Shirley Jones. “That his car dragged her so far, how her body was when she died, we didn’t know any of this.”

Police Sgt. David Dennison, a prosecution witness, showed the jury a conical depression in Flood’s hood that he said was left by Manning’s body.

The victim’s son, John Edward Manning, upon hearing Dennison’s testimony, appeared shaken and dashed from the Upper Marlboro courtroom.

After gaining composure in the hallway, he said: “This is really outrageous. You can see in the pictures where she hit the windshield. I figured that she was on the hood of his car. It’s just so hard to take.”

Markley was the first officer to question Flood the morning after Flood was served six complimentary drinks of vodka and tonic and was offered a room at the Landover Holiday Inn. He refused the room. Driving back home to Hyattsville, he struck Manning.

During questioning, Markley said, Flood denied having anything to drink in the past 24 hours. Flood said he did have a dose of cold medicine.

“I found his eyes slightly bloodshot and him to be dazed and somewhat confused at times,” Markley said.

At that point, Markley had not said anything about Manning’s death. He said his goal was information-gathering. He asked Flood to take a field sobriety test and Flood did “fairly well,” Markley said, adding that Flood lost balance and his count at the number three while taking nine steps.

At the police station, Flood agreed to take a breath analysis test, which showed his blood alcohol level to be 0.11. The legal limit in Maryland is 0.10. Markley said he was surprised by the result because it was not consistent with doing fairly well on the field tests.

Other officers and emergency technicians testified that the roadway was straight and level and that the streetlights on Route 202 were on. Other evidence suggested that Flood’s headlights were on and that at least one of Manning’s emergency flashers was working.

On the night of the accident, Manning, a custodian at the county courthouse, was on her way home. Flood had recently been named spokesman for Wayne K. Curry, then the newly elected county executive. Curry later fired Flood.

Articles appear as they were originally printed in The Washington Post and may not include subsequent corrections.

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