State Police Arrest Suspect Wanted For Fatal DUI Crash That Killed 18-Year-Old Waldorf Woman

June 21, 2019
Destanee Keenae Lyles, 18, of Waldorf

Destanee Keenae Lyles, 18, of Waldorf

UPDATE 6/21/2019: Maryland State Police arrested a man on Friday in Virginia who has been indicted in connection with the death of a woman following a crash last October in Charles County.

James Christian, 43, of Bryans Road, was indicted May 31 with negligent manslaughter by auto, homicide by auto under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, homicide by auto under the influence of drugs, three counts of second-degree assault, driving while impaired by drugs, driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, failure to stop after being involved in collision involving property damage and failure to control speed to avoid a collision.

Members of the Maryland State Apprehension Team located and arrested Christian on Friday in Richmond, Virginia. Christian is awaiting an extradition hearing back to Maryland.

Shortly before 2:15 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2018, a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze operated by Tiauna Shawnta Quarles, 36, of Bel Alton, Maryland and occupied by Antwan Demarkus Lyles, 38, of Port Tobacco, Maryland, Destanee Keenae Lyles, 18, of Waldorf, Maryland, Averi Jeannette Smith-Godfrey, 18, of Temple Hills, Maryland and Jada Monique Brown, 18, of Burtonsville, Maryland were traveling on eastbound Maryland Route 6 (Port Tobacco Road) west of Burch Road in Charles County, Maryland.

At the same time, a 2015 Nissan Rogue, driven by Christian, was traveling on eastbound Maryland Route 6 west of Burch Road approaching the Chevrolet Cruze from the rear. According to investigators, Christian attempted to pass the Chevrolet Cruze and failed to control his vehicle’s speed to avoid a crash.

The right front half of the Nissan made contact with the left rear half of the Chevrolet Cruze. This impact caused the Chevrolet Cruze to rotate clockwise causing the vehicle to travel off the roadway and collide with a drainage culvert/ditch. This impact resulted in the Chevrolet’s rear axle becoming separated from the vehicle. The Chevrolet came to a final rest off the roadway in a private driveway.

Investigators said that the Nissan rotated clockwise and came to a final rest in the roadway. After the Nissan came to a final rest, a small fire started in the engine compartment. The left rear passenger of the Chevrolet Cruze, Lyles, was pronounced deceased at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata, Maryland.

Investigators believe that the crash was caused by Christian, who failed to control his vehicle’s speed to avoid a collision, exceeding the posted speed limit (driving 109 mph in a posted 50 mph zone) and operating a vehicle while under the influence of a control dangerous substance, believed to be Phencyclidine (PCP).

After the investigation was completed, the findings were turned over to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office, which led to the indictment of Christian.


UPDATE 10/15/2018 @ 10:00 p.m.: Destanee Keenae Lyles, 18, of Waldorf, was a 2018 Westlake High School graduate. Police are still investigating the crash, and have not indicated whether a driver will be charged with any crimes.

10/14/18: On Sunday, October 14, 2018, at approximately 2:15 p.m., Troopers from the Maryland State Police La Plata Barrack and Deputies from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office responded for a report of a motor vehicle collision on Maryland Route 6 east of Burch Road in Port Tobacco.

Due to the circumstances, the Maryland State Police La Plata Barrack requested the Maryland State Police CRASH Team to assume the investigation.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze operated by Tiauna Shawnta Quarles, 36, of Bel Alton, and occupied by Antwan Demarkus Lyles, 38, of Port Tobacco, Destanee Keenae Lyles, 18, of Waldorf, Averi Jeannette Smith-Godfrey, 18, of Temple Hill, and Jada Monique Brown, 18, of Burtonsville, had pulled onto MD Route 6 from a private driveway and began traveling eastbound. A 2015 Nissan Rogue operated by James Anthony Christian, 43, of Bryans Road,  was traveling on eastbound Maryland Route 6 approaching the Chevrolet from behind. The operator of the Nissan attempted to pass the Chevrolet and subsequent collided into the rear of the Chevrolet.

After the collision, the Nissan caught fire which was extinguished by Charles County Sheriff’s Deputies.

All occupants of the Chevrolet except for Ms. Smith-Godfrey were transported by ambulance to Charles Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in La Plata. Ms. Smith-Godfrey was transported by US Park Police Helicopter Eagle 1 to Prince George’s Hospital.

Ms. Destanee Lyles succumbed to her injuries at CRMC.

The operator of the Nissan, Mr. Christian was transported by ambulance to CRMC.

Anyone who may have witnessed this crash is asked to contact Corporal J. Zimmerman of the MSP CRASH Team at (301) 392-1231.

The investigation is continuing and being investigated by Corporal J. Zimmerman of the Maryland State Police CRASH Team.


49 Responses to State Police Arrest Suspect Wanted For Fatal DUI Crash That Killed 18-Year-Old Waldorf Woman

  1. Cat on October 15, 2018 at 4:22 am

    My condolences to the family. My son graduated with her. So sad.

    • Michelle Isioma Onianwah on October 19, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      I send my sincere condolences to the Lyles family. I graduated with her and she had an awesome personality. May God be with her family during this difficult time.

  2. Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Just look at Mr.Christians record and I believe that will explain what happened.SMH.

  3. Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 11:59 am

    I hope Tiauna is charged with “failure to yield right of way” as she caused the accident.

    • Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      Was you at the accident scene?

      • Hmmm on June 24, 2019 at 5:50 am

        “Was you?” ‘Nough said.

      • Anonymous on June 24, 2019 at 6:23 am

        Was you….?

        Do people really talk like that?

        You can teach parrots to speak correctly – but not urbans.

        • Polly on June 24, 2019 at 7:36 pm

          Braaaach! Gimme a cracker mofo, braaaach!

        • Sir Neck of Red on June 25, 2019 at 6:46 pm

          Yes, the urbanites revel in their condescending analogies of those who inhabit the countryside whilst they forgeteth their own linguistic short falls.
          Good point, Carry on.

    • Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      It sure doesnt sound like it. Did the man brakes fail, he hit their car after trying to pass, sounds like he will be charged with “failure to reduce speed”

    • Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Nope, he’s at fault. Anytime you strike someone from behind….he attempted to pass her and struck her in the back….

      • Anonymous on October 17, 2018 at 11:11 am

        If I pull out directly in front of you, how can you avoid hitting me? You wouldn’t…you’d slam in to the rear of my vehicle. Whose fault is that? Mine.

        • Learn to read - IDIOT. on June 24, 2019 at 6:28 am

          “Investigators believe that the crash was caused by Christian, who failed to control his vehicle’s speed to avoid a collision, exceeding the posted speed limit (driving 109 mph in a posted 50 mph zone) and operating a vehicle while under the influence of a control dangerous substance, believed to be Phencyclidine (PCP).”

    • Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      It says she pulled onto rte 6 and was traveling east bound..so clearly she made the turn and was traveling when he came probably speeding and hit her after he tried to pass her. I believe he’s at fault.

    • Anonymous on October 17, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      First of R.I.H to this beautiful college student… Failure to yield right of way how? Because this guy wanted the road to himself? Or because you are simply misinformed? This article is not well written as it should state that she was already established on the road before this guy, going 2x the speed limit, rear ended her trying to pass. Besides that, who gets that close on someone’s ass to go around. Not only that, but minutes prior to this collision (same road same day same trip) he had already clipped a couple of vehicles. So “failure to yield right of way” is a NO. And if you still think so I hope you don’t drive. Before ASSuming and responding based on what you think you know, maybe ask questions first or wait for further information to be reported.

    • Lovebug on June 21, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      Actually there were a few police calls and other complaints from drivers on the same road about him riding the opposite side of the road at an excelerated speed to pass them. He tested positive for pcp aswell. He’s being charged for a reason he was completely at fault and others had the same experience with him same road same day just not as deadly. If you are going to offer a less than sincere opinion on something so tragic The least you could do can is be well informed and research what it is you are speaking on in the first place.

  4. Fed Up With Entitled Thugs on October 15, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Case search says it all…..James Anthony Christian was likely fleeing from a burglary. He’s got a record of various crimes and has plead guilty to excessive speed resulting in an accident. Needs to be charged with murder.

  5. Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    The driver of the SUV almost hit my friends driving their horse trailer, just prior to the accident. They are reporting it to the tip line.

  6. Anonymous on October 15, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    you all are so quick to judge people. it’s sickening. you have no idea what Mr.Christian has going on in his life

    • Justleavemeoutofit on October 16, 2018 at 12:22 am

      Yeah, crack, PCP and pot is what he has going on in his life.

      • Anonie on October 16, 2018 at 10:10 am

        And DUI charges for the accident and about to be charged with Manslaughter.

      • Anonymous on October 16, 2018 at 7:36 pm

        Ppl yall are clearly forgetting about the family and the lost of this young girls life. To hell with what that man had going on in his life. God has the finally say….my condolences to that young ladies family…RIP sweetheart

        • Anonymous on June 21, 2019 at 4:40 pm

          Where is his mug shot?

        • Ppl, yall, and the "finally say" on June 24, 2019 at 6:34 am

          If you could only write in English.

          Your intended message is true and worthy, but next time get your 4th grade daughter to write it for you so it makes more sense, instead of looking like a bad text.

    • . on October 16, 2018 at 8:24 am

      What do you mean “you all”? Racist!

    • Capt Lou Albano on October 16, 2018 at 8:29 am

      I have to agree with your complaints about people being quick to judge, but it is also “sickening” to see the immediate defense/justification of terrible behavior. I dont really care what he has going on in his life. There is nothing that makes being a turd or criminal acceptable. Not to say this is a criminal act, speaking broadly from what I see on this site in the defense of people who do terrible things. To some people, there is literally no crime or act despicable enough to not give them a pass based on “their situation”. Just my $0.02

    • Anonymous on October 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Could care less, his actions and choices killed a young lady with her whole life and bright future ahead of her. If they find he was driving recklessly or under the influence they need to give him life. That is what he took from this young lady and her family and friends. He deserves no mercy.

      • Kara L. on October 16, 2018 at 10:38 pm

        AGREED

    • MAD ASS HELL on October 22, 2018 at 10:52 pm

      Then his ass needs to stay the F off the road,,,and not take the wheel until his mind is clear, Unfortunately someone had to die. Now he must face the music, i hope his ass never drives again REVOKE his damn privileges. What do u think is on her family’s mind?.

    • Anonymous on June 22, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      HE IS GOING DOWN BI##H!!! BYE BYE YOU POS!

  7. Calvertnative on October 16, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Deepest condolences to the family and friends of this beautiful young woman.

  8. 2bless on October 16, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Prayers and condolences to the family. I talked to a relative of the young lady killed and was told the other person was a drunk driver that got locked up there at the sight of the accident. Prayers to all involved.

  9. anon on October 16, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Several miles before this accident, Mr Christian tailgated me on the same 2 lane highway with a double solid center line, passed me, struck my vehicle causing minor damage, then rapidly accelerated to between 90 and 100 mph before disappearing from view. That, in itself, is a felony. If you enter his name into Maryland Case Search you will find 31 entries, almost all of them convictions. In 2016 he was found guilty of felony assault – 1st degree and sentenced to 10 years in prison, reduced to six years, then four years and three years probation. As far as I can tell he is supposed to be in jail. Now he’s killed a kid…

    • T on October 17, 2018 at 1:28 am

      I hope you have have given your statement to the investigating officer.

    • Cathy on June 25, 2019 at 2:07 am

      Your friend stated that he clipped her. If you clip anything at the speed they said he was going that trailer and car would have spun out of control, and that would have been a serious accident in itself. Even though it’s been almost a year, I send my condolences to the family of Destiny (RIP) and may God Bless and continue to heal her family. Remember people this is a tradegy. No one wins! The press is going to give you what facts they want to share and we surmise what we want from little details they give, next each person puts the two bits to it and it becomes a sensational story with all of our opinions not facts. The person who commented on Tiuana casing the accident seems to have been there or in that car to make such a comments. Mr. Christian was driving and did not the other vehicle. If was a open and shut case why did they take so long to one Indict him. An indictment is sought when the case is uncertain or is not black and white. For those making false comments just to get involve I hope you don’t lie about what happened to you because that would be perjury. I’m especially speaking to the horse trailer folks. Remember he’s going to have someone representing him and looking to prove the state wrong. So, I hope this trailer has a dent and the exact paint of the car and manufacturer of that paint. Believe me they can match almost like DNA. Remember Innocent until proven Guilty! FYI PvP stays in your system for days! Until you know what the numbers were you can’t say he was high, he could have smoked 2 or 3 days ago. Like I said we just have little pieces of info. Look at the number of charges they have felony vehicular homicide, manslaughter, assault. They want so.etching to stick. This thing could go either way. If they don’t get a win, do you think they might go after the other driver. On a two lane road if someone pulls directly out of a hidden driveway and your going 40mph you’ll probably to to avoid by trying to pull around but if you can’t your rear ended. Go to the accident scene and put Mr Christian’s shoe on your foot and look at the possible scenerios. It said and horrific that a life was lost but what if they’re prosecuting the wrong person? They want a conviction of someone for the lost of life. All rear ended accidents are not the person in the rear, especially if someone pulls in front of you, especially if there’s no place to go and going 50 or 60mph. That’s like a person jumping in front of you on beltway going 50 – 60 mph. Most of time it turns out ok because we see them changing lanes. What if we can’t see them. Just think about both sides.

      • Jordyn Brent on June 25, 2019 at 5:47 am

        Hi Cathy. I think you should not comment on one, someone’s fatal accident period and two, someone’s fatal accident that you were not present for. It was an “open and shut” case once it was revealed and reported that the at-fault driver was traveling more than double the speed limit and high on hardcore drugs. If this was your loved one, I’m sure you’d feel differently about hearing “both sides” because it is actually quite insane that you would see it any other light. Rest In Peace to the ambitious young lady who lost her life because of someone else’s dumb mistake. Long Live Destanee Lyles.

      • AJ on June 28, 2019 at 2:33 pm

        Cathy you don’t have a clue so please respect the family and mind your business. The speed limit on the Road is 50 or 55 period. No one pulled out in front of anyone because the accident happened up the street from where the car entered the road way. So if your driving the speed limit and someone hits you its your fault are you serious. And that comment your referencing is a bitter person who wants someone back that she claims she can’t stand don’t fall for the banana in the tail pipe. To clarify the impact was at back Driver side to front of drivers side. Going at the rate he was going if he hit them dead in the back all 3 people that was in the backseat would have passed away. So stop it you sound misinformed.

  10. Anonymous on October 17, 2018 at 8:20 am

    So quick to judge. If he tried to pass then he would have hit them from the side or it would have been a spin out, not a direct hit from behind. My sympathy and condolences to the Lyles family. If you really think about it the Chevy could have pulled out prematurely. Therefore not being able to get up to speed and the Nissan tried to avoid her by going around but couldn’t. We are all Gods’ children, so let’s keep both families in prayer. There are no winners here.

    • Lovebug on June 21, 2019 at 6:32 pm

      They were already traveling on the road when he hit them there are several other cars who he passed clipped and almost collided with on the same stretch of highway please do your research

    • Harry Callahan on June 23, 2019 at 10:06 am

      It doesn’t matter, once you drive impaired and travel at double the posted limit you are at fault…and a dumbass punk. She couldn’t get up to speed with him traveling impaired at 109mph- without her knowledge. Please never apply to any police academy. By the way, God said not to do PCP and to drive at the posted speed limit.

  11. Anonymous on October 17, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Prayers and condolences.No one wins! This is horrific.

  12. Nikko on October 17, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Such a beautiful young ladies life snuffed out, and you turds are arguing about who’s fault it was. Like you are an investigator. Condolences to the family.

  13. Anonymous on October 17, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I graduated with them too, my God. May she rest in peace and may her family heal from this predicament. Same age and everything, really wakes a person up.

  14. Anonymous on October 18, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Prayers and condolences to the families involved. May God surround the friends and family with comfort and strength that they need during this difficult time. God Bless!

  15. Anonymous on June 21, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Wow 8 months later, will better late than never

  16. Jordyn Brent on June 25, 2019 at 5:35 am

    I hope all of y’all insensitive dummies that are playing investigator never have to experience what her mommy, baby siblings, and family have to experience for the rest of their lives. First of all, the fact that he was going DOUBLE the speed limit should say ENOUGH, not even including the fact that he was high off PCP. This bright-spirited young lady had her entire life snatched away in a blink of an eye from an irresponsible asshole and now all her family has are memories of her. It is insane that instead of reading this article, sending your prayers and condolences, or simply NOT commenting at all that some of you are trying to give the at fault driver “the benefit of the doubt” and are even going as far as trying to justify his actions. Shame on you all and rest in power gorgeous, I am so sorry this happened to you. Long Live Destanee Lyles.

    • AJ on June 28, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Well said Jordyn RIH Destanee Lyles

  17. maria on June 26, 2019 at 7:02 am

    couldn’t have said it better

  18. Becky Ann on June 27, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    WOW she was sooooo gorgeous.