OXON HILL, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A driver who rear-ended a vehicle on Indian Head Highway in Prince George's County, killing three young children and seriously injuring their parents, has been indicted by a grand jury, according to officials.
Prince George’s County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy and Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski announced that Thomas Hawks was indicted in connection with the Dec. 30 crash that killed 5-year-old twins Alexander and Rosalie Mejia, and their brother 1-year- old Isaac.
The children were killed and their parents, Alexis and Juanita Mejia, were seriously injured after they were rear-ended by Hawks in a pickup truck near Wilson Bridge Drive, according to police. Authorities said Hawks was heavily intoxicated at the time of the crash.
According to officials, Hawks' blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit.
#BREAKING @Fox5DC: Prince George’s County officials announce a grand jury has returned drunk driving and several other charges against Thomas Hawkes. The charges are related to the December car crash that killed 3 young children on Rt. 210. Live report at 5pm pic.twitter.com/eMUCKDQkzV— Tom Fitzgerald (@FitzFox5DC) January 24, 2019
Hawks was taken into custody and later released, sparking a public outcry.
At the time, police and prosecutors said they refrained from formally charging Hawks in part because of a 1990 court decision. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a man charged with a lesser crime in a traffic stop could not be charged again with a more serious crime because it amounted to double jeopardy.
Because of this, investigators said they have to be careful to make the most appropriate charging decision supported by the facts of the case.
Hawks was indicted on three counts of vehicular manslaughter and two counts of causing serious injury by motor vehicle while under the influence, according to officials. Hawks is expected to surrender with his attorney, officials stated.
If convicted on all counts, Hawks faces up to 36 years in prison.
- 3 Counts Vehicular Manslaughter (under the influence of alcohol— Tom Fitzgerald (@FitzFox5DC) January 24, 2019
-2 Causing life threatening injuries (under the influence of alcohol)
Warrant issued. Thomas Hawks expected to surrender with his attorney.
Following the fatal crash, law enforcement and officials declared they would step up efforts to make Indian Head Highway safer. The stretch of road is one of the most dangerous in Prince George’s County and there have been more than 1,000 crashes on it in the past three years. More than 60 people have reportedly died in crashes on Indian Head Highway in the past 11 years.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said the county would step up traffic enforcement on the roadway and look for long-term solutions.
Del. Kriselda Valderrama, sponsored the bill that put the first and only speed camera on Indian Head Highway at the intersection of Old Fort Road in 2018, said she would push for more speed cameras along the roadway following the Dec. 30 crash.