Top 10 Most Unusual and High Profile DUI Cases in Maryland

We would like to say up front that we have the deepest respect for DUI victims and their families, and our list is not intended to diminish their loss, pain, or suffering in any way.

Driving under the influence is no laughing matter. The consequences of a DUI conviction in Maryland are severe and can follow you throughout your lifetime depending on your case’s circumstances.

Unfortunately, despite efforts made by the state and groups like MADD, DUIs continue to occur in the Old Line State.


We’ve compiled a list of the most recent unusual and high profile DUI cases in Maryland. In all of these cases, there are dire and life changing consequences. Some of these cases demonstrate what not to do when suspected of driving under the influence while others prove that anyone is capable of being a DUI suspect.

We also hope that through this list we are able to demonstrate that each DUI case is unique, and can be handled properly by the suspect and his experienced Baltimore DUI attorney.

High Profile DUI Cases in Maryland                                                                                                                                       

Anyone can be arrested for DUI. Whether you are police officer, a spiritual leader, or a famous celebrity, being arrested for a DUI can have grave consequences.

  • Former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook

A recent and controversial high profile DUI case in Maryland involves the Former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook. Cook faced charges of manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, in addition to the charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Cook’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

Cook plead guilty to automobile manslaughter, along with three other criminal charges related to the death of the North Baltimore cyclist last December.

Source: Baltimore Sun

  • Gold Medalist Michael Phelps

Last December, the Olympic champion Michael Phelps plead guilty to his second DUI offense. While he managed to avoid jail time, Phelps’ license was suspended for a minimum of two months. Phelps will also remain on probation for 18 months following his conviction. He also faced other consequences, like being suspended from swimming competitions.

Source: Baltimore Sun

  • Former Raven’s Running Back Bernard Pierce

Another athlete to face DUI charges in Maryland is Raven’s former running back Bernard Pierce. After being pulled over for speeding, Pierce was arrested and charged with drunk driving.

Pierce avoided being convicted, but entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to a year-long probation.  Prior to the court’s decision, he already encountered personal and professional consequences. Hours after his arrest went public, Pierce was immediately cut from the Baltimore Ravens.

Sources: NY Daily News and Baltimore Sun

  • Fruitland Police Chief Michael Phillips

The case of police chief Michael Phillips grabbed national headlines. The Fruitland police chief had been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in June of 2014. Even though the arresting officer felt that the evidence against Phillips was “overwhelming,” the defendant’s Maryland DUI attorney expertly defended his client.

While he was found not guilty of any DUI/DWI charges, he still was required to pay court costs and fines and was sentenced to 3 months of probation for other traffic violations.

Source: USA Today 


Unusual DUI Cases in Maryland

Some of these cases definitely fall into the category of What Not to Do, but a few demonstrate that with the right Baltimore DUI attorney, a DUI arrest is not an automatic conviction.

  • The Case of “Don’t I Know You from Somewhere?”

In 2009, retired Montgomery County District judge Edwin Collier and his wife were struck by a suspected drunk driver while in their Honda Accord. Collier, who had presided over thousands of DUI cases, had insult added to his injuries when it was revealed that he had a previous connection to Rene E. Fernandez, the man who allegedly was drunk driving at the time of the crash.

In 1998 Fernandez was arrested twice for drunk driving charges. Collier had been the presiding judge during his second trial and had sentenced Fernandez to 60 days in jail, but suspended the term.

Source: The Washington Post

  • The Wheels on the Bus . . .

In February 2015, Pamela L. Willie, school bus driver, was on her way to a private school to pick up children for a field trip. Several calls were placed reporting a school bus driving erratically on I-695. Luckily, she never made it to the school, as she was stopped by police and immediately arrested for driving under the influence.

Source: WUSA

  • Definitely Do Not Do This

After allegedly crashing into a Crofton home, James Edward Johnson fled the scene. While police were investigating the scene of the crime, a call was placed, reporting the abandoned vehicle stolen. The police met the caller nearby and determined that he was actually the driver during the crash. Johnson was arrested and charged with DUI.

Source: WBAL TV

  • Two Birds, One Cop Car

While a Howard County police offer was administering a field sobriety test on a suspected drunk driver, another driver allegedly under the influence, sideswiped the officer’s patrol car. No one was injured, but both drivers were arrested and charged with DUIs.

Later that month, another Howard County police car was damaged by a third suspected DUI driver, and was rendered inoperable.

Source: WBAL TV 

  • Rescued, Only to Be Arrested

In March 2015, an unidentified Maryland man was rescued from his vehicle after it crashed into a tree and burst into flames in the parking lot of McClean, VA’s American Legion. Fairfax County police officer Sharif Issa rescued the man, but then charged him with driving while intoxicated.

Source: DelmarvaNow

  • Missing the Mark with Fulfilled Quotas

In January 2012, Katie Majorie Quackenbush had her DUI case thrown out by District Court judge Sue-Ellen Hanman. Hanman ruled that Quakenbush’s case be dismissed because there was evidence that Howard County police officers used quotas.

Source: The Baltimore Sun 

Afraid Your Case Might Make This List?

If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI it is crucial that you speak with an experienced Baltimore DUI attorney. Dilip Palaith knows the DUI and DWI case proceedings in Baltimore thoroughly, and treats each case with the highest levels of attention and dedication.

If you are seeking representation in your DUI case, call Dilip Palaith today!

Dilip Paliath, Esq.

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