Merl Howard pleads guilty in traffic crash case

A District man has pleaded guilty to multiple charges in connection with a traffic crash that occurred when the defendant was under the influence of alcohol and PCP, authorities said.

Merl Howard, 27, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of aggravated assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault with significant bodily injury. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 8 and faces up to 23 years behind bars.

Authorities said that on March 17, 2011, Howard was celebrating his mother’s birthday and, on his way home bought and consumed PCP. He then drove his mother’s vehicle with a friend and his 5-year-old son as passengers.

He entered Sherman Circle at a speed of about 50 mph and then struck a parked vehicle, authorities said. He suffered minor injuries. Four others were more seriously hurt, including an elderly couple and his son.