06/13/2024

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The section of interstate ramp off I-395 in Maryland where Robert Horne Jr. was hit by an intoxicated Shakur Latrell Sanders, pictured inset. Booking photo Maryland Maryland Transportation Authority.

Drunk driver admits to 101 mph crash that fatally launched good Samaritan into water 100 feet below

The section of interstate ramp off I-395 in Maryland where Robert Horne Jr. was hit by an intoxicated Shakur Latrell Sanders, pictured inset. Booking photo Maryland Maryland Transportation Authority.

Shakur Latrell Sanders of Maryland will spend eight years in prison after pleading guilty this week to involuntary manslaughter after a drunk driving wreck that forced a good Samaritan helping someone with their disabled car on a busy highway to be launched off an interstate ramp before plummeting into water 100 feet below.

That good Samaritan was Robert Horne Jr. of Smithsburg, Maryland, 50. He worked as a security guard at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Horne died on Aug. 13, 2023, when Sanders, who was driving a Mercedes-Benz SUV at a speed exceeding 101 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, crashed into another vehicle and then crashed into Horne, according to a statement from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police, who first announced Sanders’ arrest.

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    Sanders, 29, pleaded guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter before Judge Kendra Ausby at the Baltimore Circuit Court on June 7 and according to local NBC affiliate WBAL, Horne’s mother, Nadine Heath, was in attendance along with other family members. She called the moment Sanders announced his guilty plea “bittersweet.”

    “It helps us get closure, and I will be praying for the other family,” she said, adding that she is a Christian who believes in forgiveness.

    Heath said since Sanders first asked for her forgiveness in a letter he wrote after the crash, that is precisely what she would give him now so he could have “another fair chance in life.”

    As part of his plea deal with Maryland prosecutors, court records show Sanders admitted to involuntary manslaughter and in exchange, was sentenced to eight years in prison. He was facing 15 before the deal. Five years of supervised probation were added to the sentence.

    When Sanders addressed the court on Friday, he reportedly apologized.

    The Baltimore Witness and the Baltimore Banner reported that Horne participated in police explorer programs and worked inside police stations, even once dressing up as McGruff the Crime Dog for a children’s event. He did not become a police officer however, his family told the Banner, because an earlier crash had put that goal on ice.

    It was reported that Horne had put a warning light on the rear of his car to signify to oncoming drivers he was there before he walked over to help the disabled car on the side of the interstate. He also had attempted to direct traffic away from himself, the Banner reported. Police said Sanders had a blood alcohol content of .25, more than three times the legal limit when he struck Horne with his car.

    Horne had broken multiple bones from the roughly 100-foot fall off the interstate ramp and drowned after hitting the water, prosecutors said.

    Sanders’ attorney said his client was deeply remorseful and in seeking leniency for sentencing, told the judge that when the crash first happened, Sanders didn’t run from authorities but turned himself in promptly.

    “Alcohol runs in his family. However he did turn himself in, and he came into my office wanting to write a letter to the family,” defense lawyer Mark Sobel said.

    Sobel added: “He takes full responsibility for it. He’s very remorseful, very sorry.”

    The Banner reported that Sanders told members of Horne’s family at the plea hearing: “I respect whatever emotions you might be feeling, I understand my words offer little solace.”

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