Driver arrested; indicted for manslaughter in 2018 DUI fatal Port Tobacco crash

News Release, Maryland State Police

(PORT TOBACCO, MD) – Maryland State Police arrested a man on Friday in Virginia who has been indicted in connection with the death of a woman following a crash last October in Charles County.

James Christian, 43, of Bryans Road, Maryland, was indicted May 31 with negligent manslaughter by auto, homicide by auto under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, homicide by auto under the influence of drugs, three counts of second-degree assault, driving while impaired by drugs, driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, failure to stop after being involved in collision involving property damage and failure to control speed to avoid a collision.

Members of the Maryland State Apprehension Team located and arrested Christian on Friday in Richmond, Virginia.  Christian is awaiting an extradition hearing back to Maryland.

Shortly before 2:15 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2018, a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze operated by Tiauna Shawnta Quarles, 36, of Bel Alton, Maryland and occupied by Antwan Demarkus Lyles, 38, of Port Tobacco, Maryland, Destanee Keenae Lyles, 18, of Waldorf, Maryland, Averi Jeannette Smith-Godfrey, 18, of Temple Hills, Maryland and Jada Monique Brown, 18, of Burtonsville, Maryland were traveling on eastbound Maryland Route 6 (Port Tobacco Road) west of Burch Road in Charles County, Maryland. 

At the same time, a 2015 Nissan Rogue, driven by Christian, was traveling on eastbound Maryland Route 6 west of Burch Road approaching the Chevrolet Cruze from the rear. According to investigators, Christian attempted to pass the Chevrolet Cruze and failed to control his vehicle’s speed to avoid a crash.

The right front half of the Nissan made contact with the left rear half of the Chevrolet Cruze. This impact caused the Chevrolet Cruze to rotate clockwise causing the vehicle to travel off the roadway and collide with a drainage culvert/ditch. This impact resulted in the Chevrolet’s rear axle becoming separated from the vehicle.  The Chevrolet came to a final rest off the roadway in a private driveway.

Investigators said that the Nissan rotated clockwise and came to a final rest in the roadway.  After the Nissan came to a final rest, a small fire started in the engine compartment.  The left rear passenger of the Chevrolet Cruze, Lyles, was pronounced deceased at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata, Maryland. 

Investigators believe that the crash was caused by Christian, who failed to control his vehicle’s speed to avoid a collision, exceeding the posted speed limit (driving 109 mph in a posted 50 mph zone) and operating a vehicle while under the influence of a control dangerous substance, believed to be Phencyclidine (PCP). 

After the investigation was completed, the findings were turned over to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office, which led to the indictment of Christian

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