Man Faces 20 Years After Vehicular Homicide Conviction

Man Faces 20 Years After Vehicular Homicide Conviction
Jonathan Kidder

SNOW HILL — A Berlin man, charged in May with vehicular homicide after a fatal hit-and-run incident, was found guilty late last Thursday evening and now faces as many as 20 years in jail.

After two days, 100 exhibits and four experts, a Worcester County jury last week found Jonathan Kidder, 59, of Berlin, guilty of all charges including vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death. The jury deliberated for three hours before returning guilty verdicts on all charges for Kidder.

Kidder now faces 20 years in jail and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. The vehicular homicide charge carries a maximum five-year sentence, but because Kidder is a subsequent offender, the maximum is doubled to 10 years. In addition, the leaving the scene conviction carries a 10-year maximum.

On May 6, Kidder was driving while intoxicated when he struck and killed a man on a bicycle on Route 589. Kidder fled the scene and was involved in another accident on Route 50 in West Ocean City about 10 minutes later and fled that scene on foot.

Around 10:10 p.m. on May 6, Maryland State Police (MSP) troopers responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a bicyclist in the area of Route 589 and Gum Point Road near Ocean Pines. The bicyclist, later identified as Jose Eduardo Madrid-Pineda, 38, of Berlin, a Honduran national, was transported to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

After Kidder was involved in the fatal accident that killed the bicyclist on Route 589 near Gum Point Road, he fled leaving damaged parts to his vehicle at the scene including a broken side view mirror and broken part of the grill.

About nine minutes later, Kidder was involved in a second unrelated accident near Route 50 and Keyser Point Road. According to witnesses, Kidder got out of his vehicle at the second accident and reportedly said things to those involved in the accident something to the effect that he was so drunk and needed to get out of there and that he had just ruined his life.

He then fled the scene of the accident at Route 50 and Keyser Point Road on foot, leaving his damaged vehicle behind. Investigators were able to bring damaged parts of the vehicle from the scene of the fatal accident on Route 589 to the accident at Route 50 and Keyser Point and they were consistent with the damage on the vehicle, essentially like pieces of a broken puzzle. In short, the damaged pieces of the vehicle allowed investigators to connect him to the second accident nine minutes later on Route 50 and Keyser Point Road.

Kidder turned himself in four days later and was charged with negligent homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence, homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol and numerous drunk-driving-related charges. The incident was Kidder’s fifth DWI arrest.

At Kidder’s trial last week, prosecutors called on 10 witnesses including four experts and used both physical and DNA evidence to present the case against Kidder. During closing arguments, Interim Worcester County State’s Attorney William McDermott called Kidder’s actions on the night of the incident “a series of selfish choices that led to the preventable death of Jose Pineda.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.