Manslaughter charges filed against Mercedes-Benz driver in double fatal Potomac crash

Daniel Epstein (Montgomery County Police Department)

POTOMAC, Md. (ABC7) — The driver of a Mercedes-Benz sedan faces prison time for alleged “grossly negligent” driving, which killed two of his friends.

Last week, a Montgomery County grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Daniel Alex Epstein, 25, on criminal charges of manslaughter by motor vehicle.

Around 7:55 p.m. on March 23, Epstein’s Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG collided head on with a more sizable Ford Expedition. The crash happened along Oaklyn Drive near TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, a private golf club located in the affluent confines of Montgomery County.

Epstein and a male front seat passenger were both injured, as were three teenage girls in the Ford SUV. However, Epstein’s two backseat passengers, Hersh Bhansaly, 25, of Bethesda, and Brian Laurance, 25, of Potomac, fared far worse. Bhansaly and Laurence died from their injuries at an area hospital.

The Montgomery County Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) is notorious for taking months (in this case four-and-a-half) to conduct interviews and analyze evidence before seeking charges in fatal collisions with alleged negligence. As CRU sees its, acting in haste is risky business in the pursuit of successfully prosecuting criminal cases.

On Wednesday, Epstein surrendered at the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville. He was released from custody the very same day after posting 10 percent of his $20,000 bond.

Epstein had been living in West Hollywood, California, at the time of the double fatal crash. Court documents, however, show he has most recently been residing at his parents’ home in Boulder, Colorado. Epstein is currently unemployed, but had previously done real estate consulting with his father.

A message left on a phone number listed for Epstein in court paperwork went unreturned as of this story’s publication.

Bhansaly and Laurence were both Winston Churchill High School graduates. Laurence was an only child. He worked as an electronics technician at Digital Imaging Technology in Rockville.

Epstein has retained criminal defense attorney Robert Bonsib. The 25-year-old is due back in Montgomery County Circuit Court on August 17, for a scheduling hearing.

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