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Witnesses said they saw two cars side by side traveling at a high rate of speed before the crash.
Photo courtesy Pulaski County Sheriff's Office One a September day in 2012, this 1995 Acura entered the median and rolled on Virginia 100 near New River Valley Airport in Pulaski County. Misty Dawn Davis, 26, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the front seat and fatally injured, police said. The 24-year-old driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter. “It could have all not happened if she had had her seat belt on,” says Davis's mother, Sheryl Bailey of Hillsville. For sure, her injuries “would have been less.” ------- Sheryl Bailey of Hillsville lost her 26-year-old daughter, Misty Dawn Davis, in a fall 2012 rollover crash in Pulaski County. The driver, a family friend, could go to prison for manslaughter. Said Bailey: “It could have all not happened if she had had her seat belt on.” Source: Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office Misty Davis wreck
Friday, August 16, 2013
PULASKI — A Max Meadows man was found guilty Friday of involuntary manslaughter in relation to a September 2012 wreck that killed a passenger in his car.
Dustin Keith Hodge, 24, pleaded no contest to the charge in Pulaski County Circuit Court. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18; he faces up to 10 years in prison.
According to a summary of the evidence by county Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Skip Schwab, on Sept. 15, Hodge was driving a 1995 Acura north on Virginia 100, near the New River Valley Airport, when he lost control of the vehicle. His front seat passenger, Misty Dawn Davis, 26, was ejected and died at the scene.
Schwab said that between 5:30 and 6 p.m. on that day, multiple witnesses saw two cars traveling side by side at a high rate of speed. Hodge has indicated to authorities that the two cars were racing, Schwab said.
Witnesses estimated that the vehicles were traveling at more than 100 mph. Hodge passed the other vehicle but lost control while rounding a curve, Schwab said. Hodge ran off the road and went into the median, causing the vehicle to roll several times. The car ended up in the southbound lanes, authorities have said.
Schwab said Davis, of Hillsville, was found about 42 feet south of the vehicle. A back seat passenger, Justin Presgraves of Dublin, was also ejected. Presgraves, who was 23 at the time, was flown to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. A hospital spokesman said Presgraves was listed in good condition a few days after the crash.
Both Presgraves and Davis were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. Hodge was, and he had to be extricated from the car. He was taken to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and later flown to Roanoke Memorial. A few days after the wreck, a hospital spokesman said Hodge had been released.
Hodge’s lawyer, Richard Davis, said he and his client would stipulate that the prosecution’s evidence would be sufficient for guilt but added that if the case had gone to trial, they would have challenged some of the evidence regarding the speed of the vehicle.
“This was a tragic event,” Richard Davis said.
Circuit Court Judge Marcus Long ruled that Hodge can remain out on his secured bond until his sentencing hearing.
Outside the courtroom, several of Misty Davis’ family members said they are troubled by the fact that Hodge has not approached them since the wreck or — in their opinions — shown remorse.
“He made the choice to put his life at risk and the ones with him at risk,” said Davis’ cousin, Victoria Renea Dalton. “He knew the consequences.”
Davis’ family said both the passenger seat and the back seat of the Acura did not have seat belts, leading to the ejection of Davis and Presgraves.
The three were friends but did not know the driver of the car they were racing, Dalton said. Hodge and Presgraves no longer speak, she added.
Dalton said her cousin and Presgraves were “begging to get out of the car.” Hodge was going to drop them off at the airport, but they never made it, she said.
Davis’ mother, Sheryl Bailey, said Davis had a son and a daughter, who are now 7 and 10 years old and live with their fathers.
“No matter what sentence [Hodge] gets, they have a life sentence without their mother,” Bailey said.
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