GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Criminal charges have been filed months after a triple fatal crash that occurred on Route 288 in Goochland County.
On Tuesday, a grand jury indicted Claire C. Carr of North Chesterfield on three counts of involuntary manslaughter. Those charges each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars.
8News is told Carr is a lawyer in the Richmond area, but now court documents are revealing an even bigger legal battle brewing.
The crash occurred at around 9 p.m. on the night of Wednesday, June 27, after 25-year-old Linli Xu of Midlothian pulled over in the left shoulder after hitting a deer.
A 2006 Chevrolet Suburban occupied by two people — 41-year-old Justin C. Ransone of Midlothian and 45-year-old Amy Lee Abbott of Glen Allen — also pulled over on the right shoulder to provide assistance.
That’s when police say a 2016 Audi Q5 being driven by Carr approached the Mercedes while traveling southbound and, in attempt to avoid striking the vehicle, veered to the left and struck the three people who were standing outside the Mercedes.
The families of each of the three victims have filed civil lawsuits totaling $75 million against Carr and her employer, KPM Law.
“They believe they can prove because she was driving a company car for business purposes at the time, they think they can allege liability on the part of the employer as well,” 8News legal analyst Russ Stone explained.
In the civil complaint filed on behalf of Linli Xu, 8News has learned she was five months pregnant at the time of the crash. Her family’s lawyers are accusing Carr of texting and driving at the time of the crash.
Stone explained that involuntary manslaughter requires proving a higher level of negligence than usual.
Lawyers for Carr deny the accusation of distracted driving.
In tragic cases like this, Stone explains there are no winners.
“Involuntary manslaughter by definition does not require intention by the party,” Stone explained. “It’s a mistake and sometimes those mistakes have tragic consequences.”
8News is told the criminal and civil cases are based on the same events from June 27, but will play out separately.
The criminal trial will likely come first, and while $75 million in damages is a large amount of money, Stone says its entirely possible the civil suits could be settled before a trial.