UPDATE: Waldorf Man Convicted of Vehicular Homicide While Intoxicated by Alcohol

October 13, 2021
Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf

Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf

State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz announces the conviction of Joseph Marvin Swann for killing Ian Tahtinen in a fiery crash on December 20, 2020.

He was convicted of thirteen charges, including vehicular homicide while intoxicated by alcohol, vehicular manslaughter, resisting arrest and second degree assault on four St. Mary’s County deputies.

The collision occurred when Swann drove his car north on Rte. 5 in Charlotte at 116 mph. He struck Tahtinen’s car in the rear causing it to explode and continue burning until first responders eventually were able to extinguish it. During fire-fighting and investigative efforts, Swann left the scene. After refusing to return to the scene, Swann fought the four deputies, striking, kicking and spitting on them.

Maryland State Police testing revealed that his blood level was .19, over twice the legal limit of .08. Swann has two prior convictions for fleeing and eluding, one for driving under the influence of alcohol and eight prior assault convictions.

A Pre-Sentence Investigation has been ordered and sentencing will be set for a later date.

Mr. Fritz thanks Laura A. Caspar and Joseph Boyd for their hard work in prosecuting this case.

UPDATE 12/21/2020: Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf, appeared in court for a bond hearing on Monday, December 21, 2020 at 1:00 p.m., and remains in jail on a no bond status. Swann has a court date scheduled for March 5, 2021, at 3:30 p.m.

UPDATE 12/21/2020: Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf, was charged with 4 counts of second degree assault, Swann is currently being held at the St. Mary’s County Adult Detention and Rehabilitation Center on a no bond status. Swann will appear in court for a bond hearing on Monday, December 21, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.

In serious or fatal motor vehicle accidents most police won’t charge a suspect until an exhaustive investigation is completed. Often that includes a full accident reconstruction and laboratory blood and toxicology tests. Investigators want to have all details of the case meticulously documented before filing charges because the legal principal of double-jeopardy does not allow them a second chance to get it right if mistakes are made.

Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf (1/2020 Booking Photo)

Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf (1/2020 Booking Photo)

UPDATE –  St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Press Release: On December 20, 2020, at approximately 12:24 a.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 29800 block of Three Notch Road, in the area of Golden Beach Road in Charlotte Hall, for the reported motor vehicle collision.

Deputies arrived on scene and found both involved vehicles on fire. The fires were extinguished and one of the vehicle operators was pronounced deceased on scene. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.

Investigation determined a 2004 Cadillac CTS, operated by Joseph Marvin Swann, age 39 of Waldorf, was traveling northbound on Three Notch Road, at a high rate of speed. The Cadillac struck a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, also traveling northbound, operated by Ian Raymond Tahtinen, age 23 of Waldorf. The impact caused both vehicles to catch fire and leave the roadway. Tahtinen succumbed to his injuries on scene. Swann was transported to an area hospital with incapacitating injuries.

At this time speed and alcohol/drugs are considered contributing factors in the collision.

Anyone who witnessed the collision or any events leading to the collision is asked to contact Deputy First Class Jason Smith at (301) 475-4200 extension 72328 or by email at [email protected]

UPDATE 12/20/2020: The driver of the Cadillac (at fault vehicle) has been identified as Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf.

Swann is in custody of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and an update will be provided later today.

12/20/2020: On Sunday, December 20, 2020, at approximately 12:25 a.m., police, fire and rescue personnel responded to the area of Three Notch Road and Traveled Lane in Charlotte Hall, for a motor vehicle collision reported serious with two vehicles on fire and subjects trapped.

Police arrived on the scene to report two vehicles in the roadway with one fully engulfed in flames. Witnesses reported the operator of the Cadillac sedan fled on foot before Officers arrived on the scene.

Deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office located the suspected operator of the Cadillac a short time later. The suspect became hostile and combative against Officers before being placed in custody, where he further resisted arrest.

Firefighters from Mechanicsville extinguished the both vehicle fires in under 10 minutes, and found one victim deceased inside of the SUV.

No other injuries were reported.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the collision.

Updates will be provided when they become available.

Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf

Joseph Marvin Swann, 39, of Waldorf