Matthew Stabley

Food Truck Driver Denied Bond, Venue Change in Deadly Crash

The food truck crashed into a car carrying a family of five, killing a 39-year-old mother

A food truck driver accused of causing a crash that killed a mother of three will go on trial next month.

Tony Steven Dane was denied bond and a change of venue request at a hearing Tuesday. He is being held on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, failing to have insurance, failing to have an operator's license and failure to have the vehicle inspected.

His trial is scheduled to start March 19. 

Driving a converted school bus for his company Dane's Great American Hamburger, Dane ran a stop sign in Leesburg, Virginia, about 4:50 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2017, police said. 

The food truck slammed into a Audi station wagon carrying a family of five. The crash on Evergreen Mills Road killed 39-year-old Erin Kaplan and injured her teenage son, Ben, her two daughters and her mother.

Seconds before the crash, Dane was caught on a school bus camera passing a bus that was letting children off. Prosecutors say Dane came within feet of hitting one of the children. 

Dane's attorneys tried to suppress the video, but the prosecution argued that it would help prove their reckless driving charge. A judge decided the video should be included. 

"It's been tough,” Ben Kaplan previously told News4. "I have a broken heart over the loss of my mother, but every day gets a little better, and I couldn’t do it without my grandma."

Dane, his 16-year-old son and his son's friend received serious but not life-threatening injuries, an affidavit said. Dane told investigators the food truck's brakes failed.

Michael Shelvin, an attorney for the Kaplan family, previously said the children and Erin Kaplan's husband are healing and are overwhelmed by the support they've received from the community.

"The healing from the physical injuries continues to happen," Shelvin said. "I think that the healing from the emotional injuries are going to take a while."

After the deadly crash, the Virginia Department of Transportation made safety improvements at the intersection of Watson and Evergreen Mills roads, and the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is hitting the area with a special enforcement campaign.

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