Truck Driver Gets 4 Years in Virginia Double Fatal Crash Into Cars Stopped at Red Light

The driver of a tractor-trailer that slammed into cars stopped at a traffic light, killing two people, was sentenced to 11 years in prison with seven years suspended.

James Edward Lee, 56, pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of reckless driving.

Lee was driving on Route 3 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, when he abruptly pulled into the right lane and plowed into cars stopped at the traffic light at Gateway Boulevard on Nov. 2, police said. The light had been red for about 15 seconds, and Lee did not apply the brakes until impact, according to the prosecution.

Six vehicles were involved in the crash. 

Shari Laney, a 54-year-old mother of two from Spotsylvania died at the scene. Four other people were injured, including a passenger in Laney's car, who was the father of Laney's fiance and died three days later at a hospital.

According to the prosecution, Lee used a cellphone just prior to and possibly during the crash. There was no evidence he had a hands-free device.

A doctor cleared Lee to drive the commercial vehicle in April 2017 after an examination in which Lee failed to disclose his cardiovascular history, including a defibrillator implanted in December 2016, the prosecution said.


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Lee also said that he had changed lanes to dodge a moped driven into his lane in front of him and that he was cussing at the driver of the moped, the prosecution said.

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