A Maryland man from Halethorpe who took selfies while driving in Baltimore County and caused a fatal accident was sentenced to six months in prison on Tuesday.
Dylan Shields, 29, was convicted of negligent manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years but will serve six months in prison.
On Tuesday, prosecutors stated that on the day of the Jan. 2021 fatal accident, Shields had his car set to cruise control while he took selfies, resulting in the crash that killed 30-year-old Luke Souders.
“To be actually taking a selfie and holding a phone in front of your face and plus you have the vehicle in cruise control,” Luke’s mother, Elleen said. “That is not even driving.”
Shields was employed as an NSA security guard at the time.
On Jan. 19, the crash happened in the afternoon on northbound I-95, before the 49A exit. Maryland State Police said Shields was traveling north when he rear-ended Souders, causing a chain reaction with two additional cars. Souders was pronounced dead at the scene, and Shields refused any medical treatment.
Electronic records on Shields’ phone reveal that he was on his phone while driving on cruise control at 65 mph, and that was justified as using his phone at the time of the crash, according to court records.
Shields apologized to Souders’ family in court on the day of the sentencing.
“I think it was heartfelt and sincere, but, however, I question why it took so long. 14 months for him to reach out to the family,” Luke’s father Dan Souders said.
The Souders family told WJZ that they are satisfied with the sentence, but it will never make up for the tremendous loss. His family stated that he touched every individual that he met.
“Luke was a special person and he was a hard worker,” Dan Souders said. “He was very funny and just a great person to be around.”
Dan Souders released a message for all drivers. “Put your cellphone in the glove compartment. Turn it off.”