SNOW HILL – Following last week’s conviction of a Maryland man of homicide while driving impaired, the victim’s family released a statement expressing relief for the guilty verdict while admitting, “justice can never and will never be served.”
In June, the grand jury indicted Stanley Faison, 51, of Waldorf, on multiple felony counts including homicide by motor vehicle while impaired, negligent homicide by motor vehicle and other traffic-related charges. Faison was the driver in a pedestrian-vehicle collision in Ocean City back on May 21 when he struck and ultimately killed J.R. Ednie, 23, of Manassas, Va.
Around 2:25 a.m. on May 21, Ocean City Police and EMS responded to a reported pedestrian-vehicle collision at 45th Street and Coastal Highway. The investigation revealed Ednie was attempting to cross Coastal Highway from west to east when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle traveling northbound driven by Faison. According to police reports, Ednie was not using a crosswalk at the time of the collision.
Lifesaving efforts were initiated by bystanders at the scene and continued by Ocean City Police and EMS. The victim was then transported to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Faison was arrested and charged initially with driving under the influence and multiple traffic-related charges. He was indicted by the grand jury about a month later.
Faison’s trial began in Worcester County Circuit Court in Snow Hill last Tuesday and carried over into Wednesday. Late Wednesday, after deliberating for five hours, the jury returned with guilty verdicts on all counts including negligent homicide by motor vehicle, homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, negligent driving, reckless driving, driving while impaired and driving under the influence.
Testimony elicited at trial last week from on-scene witnesses and police officers revealed Faison’s vehicle “came out of nowhere” and struck Ednie in the middle lane, sending his body over 150 feet from the point of impact. During closing arguments last week, Deputy State’s Attorney Bill McDermott had a bailiff hold one end of a tape measure and walked out of the courtroom to the furthest wall and told the jury that distance was only 50 feet and they would need to multiply the distance by three to really see the incredible force by which the victim was struck.
“In a civilized society, we hold drunk drivers accountable when they kill people,” McDermott said during closing arguments. “Mr. Faison took the life of a young 23-year-old man, robbed his parents of a son and his sisters of a brother. He needs to be held accountable for striking a person so hard it literally knocked him out of his shoes.”
At trial, testimony from the officers evidenced that Mr. Faison had been drinking as he had “blood shot glassy eyes, slurred and mumbled speech, and the strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath and person”. He was subsequently arrested and was required to provide a breath sample which yielded a breath-alcohol content of .12, or well over the legal limit of .08 in Maryland. A search warrant of Mr. Faison’s vehicle was performed after the crash, revealing a large blue cooler behind the driver’s seat which contained multiple types of alcoholic beverages.
Evidence presented at trial revealed just 27 days prior to the fatal collision in Ocean City Faison had been found guilty of driving under the influence in Minnesota. Prior to that, Faison had been convicted in 2011 of driving while impaired in North Carolina. As a result, the State’s Attorney’s Office has filed for enhanced penalties against Faison due to his priors. Judge Brian Shockley ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Sentencing has been set for March 2.
The victim’s mother and father released a statement following the trial, thanking McDermott, victim witness coordinator Chris Sharp, OCPD forensic detective Michael Karsnitz and others for the diligence in prosecuting the case.
“This has not been easy,” the statement reads. “It was the most grueling two full days in court we have ever had to experience. Although you could say justice is being served, we pray to get the chance to see J.R. again. In our eyes, justice can never and will never be served.”
The victim’s parents’ statement goes on to describe Ednie and what his loss means to their family.
“He did not deserve what happened to him,” the statement reads. “He was a young man that had his life taken from him in a matter of minutes. We are happy to see this should not happen to any other family because this man will be behind bars. No one, no parent, no sisters should have to go through the living nightmare we have every single day, to have to bury your child or brother. It is not the way life is supposed to happen and we pray no one has to experience this. Thank you to the jury for your time and for confirming this with a guilty verdict on all seven counts.”