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Man who overdosed while driving, striking and killing 12-year-old pleads guilty

Michael Gauthier copy.jpg
Matthew Murphy.jpg
Posted at 2:18 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 14:20:33-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A man who overdosed while driving his van, striking and killing a 12-year-old boy before hitting a tree, pleaded guilty to automobile manslaughter in Anne Arundel County Wednesday.

According to his plea, on the afternoon of April 22, 2018, 38-year-old Michael Blair Gauthier killed Matthew Murphy while the Arnold man drove his work van on Bay Green Drive, near Andrew Hill Road, in Arnold. Gauthier passed out behind the while, jumping the sidewalk and striking Murphy, who was walking with his mother and brother at the time. The boy was flown to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center where he later died of his injuries.

According to charging documents, Gauthier was found with a crack pipe in his hand when officers found his van crashed into a wooded area nearby. According to charging documents, Gauthier needed two doses of Narcan, the anti-overdose drug, before officers could find a pulse. He was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center for treatment, where he consented to a blood test so police could assess his toxicology.

The test showed Gauthier had cocaine in his system at the time of the crash. A test of the pipe found in his hand showed it contained cocaine residue. He said he had smoked the cocaine in his van to avoid doing so at the home he shared with his young son.

Gauthier was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with all but eight years suspended, and five years of supervised release. State guidelines called for a sentence from three months to four years for such a crime.