A 19-year-old Emmitsburg man was charged with two counts of manslaughter Friday as the result of a fatal street racing crash that occurred in late March.

Noah Kyle Wetzel, of the 800 block of West Main Street in Emmitsburg, was served with an arrest warrant Friday charging him with both negligent manslaughter and criminal negligent manslaughter in the March 20 death of 22-year-old New Windsor resident Michael Adrian Fritz, according to a press release issued Friday afternoon by the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.

Wetzel was identified as the driver of a 1984 Ford F-250 4x2 flatbed pickup truck that crashed during an illegal street race in the 10800 block of Clemsonville Road the evening of March 20, according to a previous story in The Frederick News-Post.

Fritz and another man, 19-year-old John Wittington Jr., were riding in the bed of the truck when it briefly left the roadway, throwing them from the truck, according to previous stories. Both men were taken to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for treatment, but while Wittington's condition gradually improved, Fritz was eventually taken off life support and pronounced dead from his injuries on March 22.

Negligent manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction, while criminal negligent manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of three years and a $5,000 fine, according to Maryland state law.

Wetzel was granted release on bond later Friday after posting $10,000 in unsecured personal bail, according to an online search of court records Friday. No future court dates were available in online court records as of Friday afternoon. 

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime

Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(15) comments


In a way I feel bad for the driver and the victims, as I can remember some of the stupid “stuff” I did at that age. When I look back, it’s “oh but for the grace of God”....

Hollowed Ground

Once the lawyers point out the contributory negligence and self-disregard on the part of the riders, acquittal should follow, or even dropping of the charges.


The question in my mind is does a driver hold more responsibility because a driver could refuse to move with unsecured passengers.

the driver responsible for passengers? Yes, to an extent. It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure that passengers are wearing their seat belts before driving.All passengers on a property-carrying CMV have to wear a seat belt. Here is what the law is regarding passengers in commercial motor vehicles:No driver shall operate a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, that has seat belt assemblies installed at the seats for other occupants of the vehicle unless all other occupants are properly restrained by such seat belt assemblies.There is an exception though. The exception says that the driver does not need to continuously monitor the passenger(s) while the vehicle is in operation.


Comparison to the military versus blatant stupidity and violations of common sense traffic laws? You reap what you sow.


I don't what point you're trying to make, Lev, but if you're referring to my comment, I was not comparing these guys with the military. I was merely elaborating on bosco's comment about the invincibility attitude men that age have.


Having served in the United States Army for 14 years both as a commander of a training company and a commander of a combat arms unit among other assignments, the last thing we look for are individuals who believe they are invincible. Those individuals get their fellow soldiers killed. What we look for are individuals that are disciplined, become technically proficient in weaponry and tactics and maintain composure under fire. Quite obvious you have no clue about military training and service.


I always miss out on all the fun!


What would possess 2 adult men to get onto the back of a flatbed truck that was participating in a drag race? Do they not hold any responsibility for their actions? Who was the other driver? Any charges against him/her?


Invincibility. [ninja]


Exactly, bosco, and that's one reason why the military likes to sign on men that age. They feel they're invincible, which makes for good combat fighters.

Hollowed Ground

And good fodder/.


"Good fodder?" What age are you living in? The art of warfare has advanced well past the days of "fodder."


There is some discussion these days re at what age we have "adult" brains where we can expect adult reasoning at all times. It's possible a lot of luck is involved reaching the age of 26 without being criminally stupid at some point previous.


Once you are in the back of a truck you are at the mercy of the driver for the most part


Yes, but the driver is responsible for moving or not. Two bad judgements do not make a right.

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