One of the two motorists involved in a fatal March 2023 Baltimore work zone crash has been released from prison after serving three months of an 18-month sentence. Melachi Brown, who pled guilty to six counts of felony auto manslaughter earlier this year, will serve the remainder of his sentence on home detention.

Brown, age 20, was traveling northbound in the far-left lane of the I-695 Baltimore Beltway alongside a barrier-protected left-shoulder work zone on March 22, 2023, when his vehicle was struck by another vehicle driven by 54-year-old Lisa Adrienna Lea. Maryland state police investigators say both vehicles were traveling in excess of 120 mph—more than double the posted 55-mph speed limit for the work zone area—before Lea made an unsafe lane change.

The collision caused Lea’s vehicle to spin out of control, and enter a 156-ft opening in the concrete barriers separating the work zone from the travel lanes. The vehicle struck five workers with contractor, Concrete General, Inc., and an inspector with KCI Technologies, Inc., before overturning. All six victims died as a result of their injuries. 

In modifying Brown’s sentence, a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge agreed with attorney’s arguments that Brown had no prior criminal record, posed no flight risk and had taken responsibility for his part in the incident, which investigators say was not the primary cause of the crash. Brown also claimed that confinement in the county Detention Center’s hostile environment had exacerbated his pre-existing issues with anxiety and depression.

Lea, who claims she suffered a seizure immediately before the crash is scheduled to be tried in November on charges of vehicular manslaughter and driving while impaired. Her attorneys have claimed she suffered a seizure in the moments leading up to the collision.

The National Transportation Safety Board released preliminary findings from its investigation late last year, but has yet to issue a final report or safety recommendations to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The incident also spurred the creation of state working group led by Maryland Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller (D) that recommended a series of improvements to work zone safety. The resulting bill, the Maryland Road Worker Protection Act, was signed into law in April.