RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A man accused of getting behind the wheel while high on heroin on Thanksgiving night and causing a deadly high-reaction crash three years ago has now pleaded guilty to four charges, including three felony counts.
On Monday, May 22, 28-year-old Ryann Daniels appeared in Richmond Circuit Court and pled guilty to two counts of felony manslaughter, a felony count of driving while intoxicated with serious injury and a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated in connection to a 2020 crash that killed two people.
He was first charged with the two manslaughter counts in December 2020, while the other two charges were added in July 2021.
On Nov. 26, 2020 — Thanksgiving Day — around 8 p.m., Daniels ran through a red light on Brookland Park Boulevard and smashed into two cars, which caused a chain reaction crash on Chamberlayne Avenue that involved six cars.
Daniels directly hit an SUV with 58-year-old Kevin Hancock and 52-year-old Karen Murphy inside. Both died from their injuries.
During a hearing in May 2021, a witness at the scene shared that when Daniels became conscious after the crash, he said “I’m on heroin. I OD’d (overdosed)” and then “Is my mom and sister in the back seat?”
According to Donald Olson, Traffic Investigator with Richmond Police, Daniels’ pickup truck did not brake before he crashed, and at the time of the collision he was driving 62 mph. The speed limit on Brookland Park Boulevard is 25 mph and 35 mph on Chamberlayne Avenue, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Daniels was not initially arrested after the crash. After he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the hospital, he left the state and was found one week later in Currituck County, North Carolina.
His pre-sentence report is now set for July 27, 2023. This is standard practice after someone pleads guilty to a felony in Virginia, and will allow Daniels’ lawyer to present information about his background, family and employment history to help the judge decide on an appropriate sentence.
Daniels was already in legal trouble in two other counties a year before the deadly Thanksgiving night crash. In June 2019, he pleaded guilty to drug possession in Henrico County and was sentenced to five years with nearly four years suspended and probation for 99 years. The next month, in July 2019, he pleaded guilty to felony destruction of property charges in July 2019 and was sentenced to five years. He ended up only serving one and received 10 years probation.