UPDATE: Swann Guilty Of 13 Charges For Fatal Accident In Charlotte Hall


Joseph Marvin Swann

UPDATE - State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz announces the conviction of Joseph Marvin Swann for killing Ian Tahtinen in a fiery crash on December 20, 2020.  He was convicted of thirteen charges, including vehicular homicide while intoxicated by alcohol, vehicular manslaughter, resisting arrest and second-degree assault on four St. Mary’s County deputies. 

The collision occurred when Swann drove his car north on Rte. 5 in Charlotte at 116 mph.  He struck Tahtinen’s car in the rear causing it to explode and continue burning until first responders eventually were able to extinguish it.  During fire-fighting and investigative efforts, Swann left the scene.  After refusing to return to the scene, Swann fought the four deputies, striking, kicking, and spitting on them.

Maryland State Police testing revealed that his blood level was .19, over twice the legal limit of .08.  Swann has two prior convictions for fleeing and eluding, one for driving under the influence of alcohol and eight prior assault convictions.

Mr. Fritz thanks Laura A. Caspar and Joseph Boyd for their hard work in prosecuting this case.

CHARLOTTE HALL, Md. - On December 20, 2020, at approximately 12:24 a.m. deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 29800 block of Three Notch Road, in the area of Golden Beach Road in Charlotte Hall, for the reported motor vehicle collision. Deputies arrived on scene and found both involved vehicles on fire. The fires were extinguished and one of the vehicle operators was pronounced deceased on scene. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation.

Investigation determined a 2004 Cadillac CTS, operated by Joseph Marvin Swann, age 39 of Waldorf, was traveling northbound on Three Notch Road, at a high rate of speed. The Cadillac struck a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, also traveling northbound, operated by Ian Raymond Tahtinen, age 23 of Waldorf. The impact caused both vehicles to catch fire and leave the roadway. Tahtinen succumbed to his injuries on scene. Swann was transported to an area hospital with incapacitating injuries.

At this time speed and alcohol/drugs are considered contributing factors in the collision. Anyone who witnessed the collision or any events leading to the collision is asked to contact Deputy First Class Jason Smith at (301) 475-4200 extension 72328 or by email at

Citizens may remain anonymous and contact Crime Solvers at (301) 475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.

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