Pleas entered in fatal wreck
Published 10:28 pm Thursday, February 6, 2014
A Norfolk man faces a maximum of 17 years in prison after entering Alford pleas on charges stemming from a fatal Sept. 18 pileup on Route 460.
Ronald Frank Quesenberry III entered the pleas to felony manslaughter, felony reckless driving, driving on a suspended license and operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, which keeps a driver from starting the car if his blood alcohol content is above the legal limit.
The wreck killed 48-year-old Thomas David Rush of Virginia Beach. It happened about 7:14 a.m. that day and involved two tractor-trailers — one driven by Rush — and six passenger vehicles.
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In addition to a 17-year maximum sentence, Quesenberry also could be slapped with a fine of up to $5,000, prosecutor George Bruch said. However, a homicide charge will not be prosecuted if everything goes as planned.
The Alford pleas mean Quesenberry does not admit guilt but admits there is enough evidence to convict him.
Had the case gone to trial, Bruch said, multiple witnesses would have testified they saw Quesenberry’s vehicle pass them as they drove between 60 and 65 miles per hour. One witness said he “passed them like a flash,” Bruch said.
Various witnesses said they saw him weaving in and out of traffic without signaling and using his cellphone.
“Another witness would have said, ‘He came out of nowhere,’” Bruch said.
Another witness saw Quesenberry driving in the wrong direction passing two side-by-side vehicles in the correct lanes. That’s when Quesenberry struck the front driver’s side wheel of a tractor-trailer driven by Rush, which caused him to lose control.
Rush was ejected from the vehicle and hit by two other vehicles before his own truck landed on top of him, Bruch said.
Sentencing is set for May 19.