A man from Unionville was arrested Sunday, December 23, 2018, and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and manslaughter as the result of a crash that involved three vehicles. One person was killed and four more were injured as a consequence of the crash.
The accident occurred at around 2:10 a.m. that Sunday morning, near Rhodesville, Virginia, on State Route 20. The driver was Noah C. Smith, age 20, and he was driving a Chevrolet Silverado south on Route 20 when he crossed the center line into the northbound lane. He then sideswiped a 2013 Toyota Tacoma, which had swerved left in an attempt to avoid Smith's pickup truck.
Smith's pickup then hit a northbound 2009 Honda Civic head-on, and the truck ended up on top of the Civic. Delmys M. De Jesus, 29, the driver of the Honda, was killed in the accident and died at the scene. A 7-year old girl who was in the car was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The front passenger in the Toyota was taken to the hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, according to police. The driver of the Toyota, Jose Portill-Melgar, 23, and a 3-year old boy in the Toyota were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Smith, who allegedly caused the accident, was not injured in the crash. He was arrested and taken into custody.
DUI Involuntary Manslaughter
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, you can be charged with DUI involuntary manslaughter if you drive while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicant and unintentionally caused the death of another person.
DUI Related Involuntary Manslaughter is found in Virginia Code § 18.2-36.1. Involuntary manslaughter is the killing of another human being that is unintentional and is not premeditated.
What the Prosecutor Must Prove
If you are charged with DUI involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor must still prove certain elements, beyond a reasonable doubt, before you can be convicted. The prosecutor must prove:
that you were intoxicated by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both; and
that you unintentionally caused the death of another person.
The Virginia prosecutor is also required to show that not only were you intoxicated, but it was the intoxication that caused the accident that led to death. It is not enough to show that the driver was drunk or high, but the intoxication and death must be linked together, or the charge will not stand.
For more details about this charge, including potential penalties, visit my DUI Involuntary Manslaughter page to learn more.
Defending Your Case
To defend against this serious charge, you can raise defenses to help protect your rights, such as:
You were not intoxicated at the time of the accident;
The intoxication was not the cause of the accident or death;
Reasonable doubt exists as to how the accident occurred; or
Another party was the actual cause of the accident.
Consult an Experienced Virginia DUI Attorney
A DUI involuntary manslaughter charge can carry serious consequences. To protect your constitutional rights, you need Virginia DUI attorney Bryan J. Jones to defend your case. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.