Driver accused of killing Hanover firefighter charged with involuntary manslaughter

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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The truck driver accused of causing a crash that killed Hanover firefighter Lt. Brad Clark was indicted by a Hanover County grand jury less than a week after misdemeanor charges were dropped against him in court. 

On April 11, prosecutors nolle prossed reckless driving and defective brake charges against Lester LaBarge. Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephen Royalty told the judge in court that day they were seeking two direct indictments.

On Tuesday, LaBarge was indicted for involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving, online court records show.

Labarge, who could face jail time as a result of these new indictments, didn’t answer questions as he left the Hanover courthouse last Thursday. 

Virginia State Police say Labarge was behind the wheel of his big rig when it slammed into a fire truck on I-295. It happened in the midst of Tropical Storm Michael.

According to sources, Labarge insists the bad weather caused his truck to collide with the fire engine.

The impact killed Clark and seriously hurt two other firefighters.

The victims’ families along with the Hanover community are still struggling to heal from the tragedy.

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