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Indictment Issued in Fatal Crash

Kevin Melanson could face up to 10 years in prison.

Kevin Melanson was indicted last week on four charges related to a fatal single-vehicle car crash on Horseshoe Drive on July 29, 2006. The accident killed Michael Joseph Peterson, 23, a passenger in the car that Melanson was driving.

Melanson and Peterson had been friends since attending Carderock Springs Elementary School together.

If convicted, Melanson, 23, could face up to 10 years in prison. Melanson’s trial is tentatively scheduled to begin June 12, said Deputy States Attorney John Maloney. Melanson faces charges of manslaughter by vehicle, homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence, speeding, and failure to keep right of center, said Maloney.

"I'm just taking it day by day right now," said Melanson of the indictment when reached at his home on Monday.

THE ACCIDENT occurred after 3 a.m. on July 29 of last year, when, according to police, Melanson was driving a 1997 Nissan 240 SX when the vehicle braked as it was traveling westbound on Horseshoe Lane, skidded, struck a curb on the south side of the road, then struck two trees. Neighbors reported hearing the loud roar of an engine just before the crash.

Peterson, a former student at Walt Whitman High School, was reported dead on the scene. Melanson was in critical condition and hospitalized until mid-August after the crash. Melanson suffered a broken ankle and head trauma in the crash, he said.

Melanson said that since the accident he has undergone rehabilitation and treatment for brain damage that doctors say could be permanent.

The grand jury made its indictments after receiving the conclusions of a six-month investigation by the Montgomery County Police Collision Reconstruction Unit, said Melanie Hadley, a spokesperson for Montgomery County Police.

Melanson is not in police custody while he awaits trial. Montgomery County regulations do not require those indicted by a grand jury to be detained while they await trial unless a motion is filed for an arrest warrant, and that has not happened in this case, Maloney said.