An 18-year-old Winston Churchill High School student is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle after he crashed into a tree at 8700 River Road during early morning hours March 31.
Daryl S. Villanueva, the driver of the vehicle, was transferred to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital for evaluation and a blood sample to check for alcohol following the crash. He was not seriously injured.
According to police, Villanueva and three underage passengers had been drinking in Prince George’s County before driving to Potomac. The car came south on Norton Road, passed through a stop sign, and crossed both lanes of traffic on River before hitting a tree and overturning.
The passengers, a 17-year-old from Rockville and two 18-year-olds from Gaithersburg, pulled Villanueva from the car and fled on foot before police arrived, according to police.
The 17 year old was found drunk but uninjured several hours later, while the 18-year-old twin brothers were located the following day. All three were issued citations for underage alcohol possession.
The family of Villanueva’s girlfriend have filed charges for unauthorized use of their car, said Montgomery County Police spokesman Derek Baliles.
Villanueva faces a minimum $100 fine and maximum sentence of four years in prison for the vehicle offense as well as suspension of his license and fines for driving under the influence of alcohol.
In the last three months of 2004, at least 18 young people in the Washington area died in car accidents involving teens. Nearly half of those accidents involved alcohol.
Baliles said that this accident was an example of negligent behavior in light of those tragedies.
“That’s why we fight so hard,” Baliles said. “This was a Wednesday night, Thursday morning offense. He went out drinking Wednesday night and on Thursday morning he wrecked his car. And it wasn’t even his car.”