GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The driver who struck and killed three people along Route 288 in Goochland County last year was given a one-year jail sentence Tuesday after she pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
The deadly crash occurred on June 27, 2018, after 25-year-old Linli Xu, who was five months pregnant at the time, pulled over to the left shoulder of Route 288 after striking a deer, authorities said.
Two other people, identified as 41-year-old Justin Ransone and 45-year-old Amy Abbott, eventually stopped on the right shoulder of the interstate to provide Xu assistance.
According to police, a Chesterfield woman named Claire Carr was driving southbound on Route 288 when she approached Xu’s Mercedes.
Carr, an attorney at Kalbaugh, Pfund & Messersmith (KPM Law), then veered to the left to avoid the car and struck Xu, Ransone and Abbott, who were outside their vehicles at the time. All three died at the scene, police said.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Goochland Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Caudill said Ransone was on the phone with dispatch when they were hit.
The victim’s families filed civil lawsuits in 2018 asking for a total of $75 million. The civil complaint filed on behalf of Linli Xu accused Carr of texting and driving at the time of the crash.
Court documents show that the families of the three victims will evenly split a $5 million settlement, giving each family $1.67 million. The money was obtained through Carr’s and KPM Law’s liability insurance.
Carr’s attorney argued that his client’s actions didn’t “rise to the level of criminal negligence,” and later said he believed Carr’s sentence was “an appropriate punishment.”
Caudill later said “there’s risk on both sides” if they were to go to trial and that the plea deal was a “compromise.”
Carr, who had been indicted on three counts of involuntary manslaughter in October 2018, will serve 12 months in jail. She will be allowed out on work release from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
Carr addressed the victim’s families as she spoke in court on Tuesday.
“This is the first opportunity to I’ve had to say in words,” Carr said through her tears. “I’m so sorry. I’m so profoundly sorry. I think about you all day every day. Sometimes I wish I had taken me and not them.”
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