2008-10-23 / Front Page

Md. Woman Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Homicide

To be sentenced in 2007 death of Gettysburg man here
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

A Hagerstown, Md., woman will be sentenced later this year in connection with a two-vehicle collision in southern Fulton County that claimed the life of a 71-year-old Gettysburg man in 2007.

Thirty-five-year-old Lori Jean Shoemaker appeared before Judge Douglas Herman on Tuesday, October 14, on two counts of driving under the influence and one count each of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle and duties at stop signs. The charges stem from the death of Harry M. Hartman, who suffered accidental blunt force trauma on August 25, 2007, when Shoemaker failed to stop at a busy intersection and struck Hartman's car.

Shoemaker had previously entered a not guilty plea to all counts and was scheduled to stand trial but withdrew her prior plea and instead pled guilty to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and driving under the influence at the highest rate of alcohol. She is represented in court proceedings by attorney James Kevin Reed and will be sentenced on December 30.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed after the crash, a northbound 1995 Toyota 4Runner operated by Shoemaker reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign along Thompson Road and drove into the path of a 2006 Toyota Corolla driven by Hartman. The two vehicles collided, causing Hartman's southbound vehicle to be pushed off Route 522 and into a nearby garage.

Prior to state police arriving on the scene, the affidavit states, Shoemaker allegedly told an eyewitness and at least one emergency responder she never saw the stop sign when she approached the intersection of Thompson Road and Great Cove Road in the village of Needmore at 7:24 p.m. In her conversations with police and responders, Shoemaker added Hartman's car "came out of nowhere," the affidavit said.

Later at Fulton County Medical Center, where her blood alcohol content level was recorded at .179 percent,

Shoemaker informed state police she had drunk three or four beers at the Hancock Gun Bash. While she was unable to initially tell state police why she was driving through Fulton County, if she was indeed returning to her home in Hagerstown from Hancock, Shoemaker eventually told them she and her husband had visited the home of her husband's friend.

Husband Donald Elwood Shoemaker Jr. had also been transported to Fulton County Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of injuries.

The casual factor of the collision was recorded as Shoemaker's "failure to stop for a posted stop sign and ... failure to yield to other traffic." State police were able to determine there were "no pre-existing mechanical defects ... that contributed to the cause of the crash."

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