LA PLATA, MD— Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier sentenced James Anthony Christian, 46 of Bryans Road, to 25 years in prison for Motor Vehicle Manslaughter and 4 counts of Second-Degree Assault. Christian entered a guilty plea to the aforementioned charges on May 11, 2021.

Covington, commenting on the sentence said: “Destanee is gone and there is no remedy for that. I am gratified, however, that the Court imposed a very significant sentence for this drugged driving case. Given his behavior and total lack of concern for anyone else on the road that day, the defendant, quite frankly, earned this sentence. The impact on him is unfortunate, but it is not the end of his life – and remember he caused it. He will come home one day. Destanee, on the other hand, will never come home. Her family will never see her smile again. Christian caused that too. 25 years is appropriate.”

On October 14, 2018, troopers from the Maryland State Police responded to Maryland Route 6, west of Burch Road in Port Tobacco for the report of a two-vehicle collision. Upon arrival, troopers observed a Maroon 2015 Nissan Rogue with severe front-end damage on the westbound shoulder of Route 6 and a Black 2014 Chevrolet Cruze with severe rear-end damage in a private driveway. Deputies from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Waldorf Fire and Rescue Squad were already on the scene.

When troopers made contact with the operator of the Nissan Rogue, later identified as Christian, he appeared intoxicated and confused. Troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the Nissan Rogue and observed a clear plastic bottle containing burnt tobacco cigarettes located inside the vehicle. The cigarettes appeared to be soaked in Phencyclidine (PCP).

An investigation into the collision revealed that a Chevrolet Cruze, operated by Tiauna Quarles and occupied by Destanee Keenae Lyles, as well as three other passengers, was traveling Eastbound on Maryland Route 6. Ms. Quarles had just left her driveway and was taking Destanee Lyles and two of her friends back to college in Virginia. A Nissan Rogue, operated by Christian, was also traveling eastbound on Maryland Route 6 and approached the Chevrolet Cruz from behind. Christian attempted to pass the Chevrolet Cruze, however, failed to control his speed in order to avoid a collision. The right front of the Nissan Rogue collided with the left rear of the Chevrolet Cruze.

The impact caused the Chevrolet Cruze to rotate clockwise and collide with a ditch. As a result, the rear axle became separated from the vehicle. The Chevrolet Cruze came to a final rest in a private driveway. Christian’s vehicle also rotated clockwise but came to a final rest on the roadway. The vehicle caught fire as a result of the collision but was extinguished by a Charles County Sheriff Deputy. At the time of impact, Christian was driving 109 miles per hour.

The occupants of both vehicles were transported to the hospital due to injuries sustained during the collision. Lyles, who was in the rear seat of the driver’s side of the Chevrolet Cruze, unfortunately, succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center. She was only 18 years old.

It was later determined that Christian was involved in a hit-and-run incident before the deadly collision. Also prior to the crash, he forced another vehicle off the roadway and almost side-swiped yet another vehicle just before the fatal crash. One driver correctly estimated that Christian was traveling more than 100 mph just moments before the collision.

A blood sample taken from Christian indicated he had PCP in his system at the time of the incident.

During sentencing, in a packed courtroom filled with Destanee’s family and friends, the prosecutor told the judge, “This man is 46 years old and has been using PCP since 2010. He has been afforded probation. He has been afforded treatment. At this point, the opportunity has passed. Enough is enough. The community and justice demand he be incarcerated for 25 years. He put so many lives in danger. He took the life of an 18-year-old and almost four other lives. The defendant’s history, coupled with his behavior in this case, and his actions after it, warrant the twenty-five years.”


LA PLATA, MD— Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, James Anthony Christian, 46 of Bryans Road, entered a guilty plea to Motor Vehicle Manslaughter and 4 counts of Second-Degree Assault.

On October 14, 2018, troopers from the Maryland State Police responded to Maryland Route 6, west of Burch Road in Port Tobacco for the report of a two-vehicle collision. Upon arrival, troopers observed a Maroon 2015 Nissan Rogue with severe front-end damage on the westbound shoulder of Route 6 and a Black 2014 Chevrolet Cruze with severe rear end damage in a private driveway. Deputies from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Waldorf Fire and Rescue Squad were already on scene.

When troopers made contact with the operator of the Nissan Rogue, later identified as Christian, he appeared intoxicated and confused. Troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the Nissan Rogue and observed a clear plastic bottle containing burnt tobacco cigarettes located inside the vehicle. The cigarettes appeared to be soaked in Phencyclidine (PCP).

An investigation into the collision revealed that a Chevrolet Cruze, operated by Tiauna Quarles and occupied by Destanee Keenae Lyles, as well as three other passengers, was traveling Eastbound on Maryland Route 6. A Nissan Rogue, operated by Christian, was also traveling eastbound on Maryland Route 6 and approached the Chevrolet Cruz from behind. Christian attempted to pass the Chevrolet Cruze, however, failed to control his speed in order to avoid a collision. The right front half of the Nissan Rogue collided with the left rear half of the Chevrolet Cruze.

The impact caused the Chevrolet Cruze to rotate clockwise and collide with a ditch. As a result, the rear axle became separated from the vehicle. The Chevrolet Cruze came to a final rest in a private driveway. Christian’s vehicle also rotated clockwise but came to a final rest on the roadway. The vehicle caught fire as a result of the collision but was extinguished by the Charles County Sheriff’s Deputies. Christian was driving 109 miles per hour in a posted 50 miles per hour zone.

The occupants of both vehicles were transported to the hospital due to injuries sustained during the collision. Lyles, who was in the rear seat of the driver’s side of the Chevrolet Cruze, unfortunately, succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center. She was only 18 years old.

It was later determined that Christian had been involved in a hit and run incident prior to the deadly collision. Witnesses reported that Christian was driving recklessly at a high rate of speed.

A blood sample taken from Christian later indicated that he tested positive for PCP.

A sentencing date has been set for June 29, 2021.


(PORT TOBACCO, MD) – 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, Maryland, 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 a 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