SEABROOK – A 32-year old woman turned herself into authorities and is facing up to 60 years in prison after an investigation into a February car accident that killed six people, including five children, showed that her blood alcohol content was “at least twice” the legal limit.
Dominique Rochelle Taylor of Bowie was charged with a 12-count indictment by the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office on April 23. Taylor was charged with six counts of vehicular manslaughter and six counts of vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol. Each of the homicide counts carries a maximum of 10 years in prison if Taylor is convicted.
“We are now turning our focus in obtaining justice for the victims and their families and holding Ms. Taylor accountable for her actions,” State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said.
The investigation, which started right after the incident, concluded that Taylor’s blood alcohol content was a .16, which is twice the legal limit in Maryland (.08). Investigators could not publicly say what kind of alcohol was consumed at the time of the accident.
When Braveboy announced the indictment, Taylor was not in custody. However, she turned herself in following the press conference and was arraigned on April 25. The judge ordered that she be held on a $100,000 bond. Investigators revealed during the hearing that traces of marijuana were also found in her blood sample provided after the accident.
The incident occurred in the early morning hours, at approximately 4:25 a.m. as Taylor drove a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica SUV on Route 201 near Pointer Ridge Drive in Bowie.
Preliminary findings by the Maryland State Police showed that the driver lost control of the vehicle and veered off the road before making its final stop.
“The vehicle lost control, went off the left side of the roadway, struck several trees and began to spin on a snow-covered field,” Captain Dan Pickett of the Maryland State Police said in a press conference following the incident. Early on, police officials did not rule out if weather conditions played a factor in causing Taylor to spin out.
Five children, ranging from eight to 15-years-old, were thrown out of the car during the crash and were pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the state’s attorney’s investigation, no seatbelts were worn and no proper restraining device was provided to the children who sat in back row seats of the SUV.
“Every collision we have when we lose life is a tragedy, simple as that,” Pickett said. “And when children are involved, it is more of a tragedy.”
Taylor was the mother of two of the children killed, London Dixon, 8, and Paris Dixon, 5. They lived with her in Bowie and attended Northview Elementary School. The other three children, Zion Beard, 14, Rickelle Ricks, 6, and Damari Herald, 15, were related to Taylor, officials say.
“This is tough,” Braveboy said. “I went to the funeral; there were closed caskets at the funeral, and you can see pictures of the young children, very young children with stuffed animals, dolls and it is sad. Losing your children is tough and is tough for every single parent.”
Sitting on the front passenger side of the car was 23-year old Cornell “Donte” Simon, who Braveboy called a friend of Taylor’s. The Oxon Hill resident was put on life support following the accident. He was ultimately taken off and died on Feb. 18, making him the sixth person to die.
The Bowie accident comes as county officials begin a push to encourage safe driving habits in the county. Despite a decrease of fatal collisions from 2014 (69) to 2018 (49), high-profile accidents have grabbed the attention of county residents. Most recently, a multi-vehicle collision on April 10 that included a school bus and a tractor-trailer, in Clinton killed one person.
Recently, Braveboy hosted the start of a “Drive Focused, Sober & Safe” campaign on April 27 in the Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex in Oxon Hill.
“We know that no one, especially in these types of situations, intends to kill anybody,” Braveboy said. “But when you make decisions on the roadway that are dangerous decisions, and these types of tragedies are the results, our office has no choice but to seek justice, and we will do so in this case.”