Driver involved in fatal drag race in Montgomery County found guilty

A Maryland man accused of participating in a drag race that ended in death in Montgomery County has been found guilty.

A Maryland man accused of participating in a drag race that ended in death in Montgomery County has been found guilty.

Noe Daniel Suriel, 29, of Silver Spring, was convicted of operating a motor vehicle during a race or speed contest and grossly negligent motor vehicle manslaughter on Thursday.

The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said on September 6, 2019, Suriel, who was driving a Dodge Challenger, and the drivers of two other vehicles were racing down Georgia Avenue.

The race ended when all three cars collided with a Honda Civic attempting to turn into an on-ramp at the Intercounty Connector. The accident killed the driver of the Honda, identified as Rene Antonio Hernandez Jr., 32, of Olney.

The investigation showed that in the minutes before the accident, the Dodge Challenger driven by Suriel and an Infiniti Q50S, driven by Camilo Jose Ahumada Serje, 27, of Olney, were speeding down the road. Footage from a Metrobus captured the two cars speeding along.

Shortly before the crash, investigators said Regino Andres Gonzalez Pena, 38, of Gaithersburg, joined the race in his Ford Explorer.

Police say Suriel’s vehicle made initial contact with the back of Hernandez’s car, swerving past her. Serje’s Infiniti then slammed into the Honda Civic, which then spun and was rammed by the Ford Explorer that Gonzalez Pena was driving.

Suriel was the only driver who did not plead guilty. Prosecutors presented video of a Metrobus, showing Suriel and Serje’s vehicles speeding by. There was also video taken from the passenger seat of Serje’s vehicle.

Data taken from Serje’s vehicle showed it was traveling at 106mph five seconds before the crash.

Suriel and Serje both face up to 10 years in prison; while Gonzalez Pena risks up to 18 months.

“This should send a message to anyone who would consider the very dangerous and potentially deadly act of drag racing at excessive speeds,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “Any driver participating in a race may be convicted of motor vehicle manslaughter, regardless of the vehicle involved in a fatal collision,” McCarthy continued.

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