By Jessica Albert
ARBUTUS, Maryland (WJZ) — A Halethorpe man who was taking selfies while driving when he caused a fatal accident in Baltimore County last year was sentenced to six months in prison Tuesday.
Dylan Shields, 29, was convicted of negligent manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years with all but six months in prison.
Shields had his car set to cruise control while he took selfies in the Jan. 2021 crash that killed 30-year-old Luke Souders, prosecutors said Tuesday.
“To be actually taking a selfie and holding a phone in front of your face and plus you have the vehicle in cruise control,” Luke’s mother, Eileen, said. “That is not even driving.”
Shields was employed as an NSA security guard at the time.
The crash happened on the afternoon of January 19, 2021, on northbound I-95, prior to exit 49A. Maryland State Police said Shields was traveling north when he rear-ended Souders, causing a chain-reaction crash with two additional cars.
Souders was pronounced dead at the scene. Shields refused medical treatment.
According to court records, electronic records on Shields’ phone revealed he was on his phone while driving on cruise control at 65 mph, and that was using his phone at the time of the crash.
Shields was also handed two years of supervised probation. If he violates any conditions set by the judge, the state may petition to revoke Shields’ suspended sentence.
Souder’s family was in court at the sentencing. Shields apologized to them.
“I think it was heartfelt and sincere, but, however, I question why it took so long, 14 months, for him to reach out to the family,” Luke’s father Dan Souders said.
Luke’s family told WJZ they’re satisfied with the sentence, but it will never make up for the tremendous loss. They said he touched everyone he met.
“Luke was a special person and he was a hard worker,” Dan Souders said. “He was very funny and just a great person to be around.”
Dan Souders had a message for all drivers.
“Put your cellphone in the glove compartment,” he said. “Turn it off.”
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