Driver in deadly pursuit to return to court in September

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: August 11, 2019 | 3:15 p.m.

Dinwiddie pursuit ends in Sussex, killing girl, 5

DINWIDDIE – The driver who led state troopers on a high-speed chase in Dinwiddie that eventually ended in a neighboring community and left a young child dead is expected to return to court in September after a series of delays in the case.

Court records show 29-year-old Toriando Smith of Petersburg is slated to appear in Sussex County General District Court on September 12 after all four of his previously scheduled appearances have been continued in connection with a felony involuntary manslaughter charge following an April 3 police pursuit that began in Dinwiddie County.

At the time, Virginia State Police detailed in their report following the deadly pursuit, stating Smith, driving a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze, was observed traveling nearly 15 miles over the posted 25 mile per hour speed limit along Halligan Park Road, with a trooper immediately activating his lights to initiate a traffic stop. 

As the trooper went to approach Smith’s vehicle, authorities said the man sped away, resulting in a pursuit ensuing. 

The pursuit made its way along Route 40 in Dinwiddie before crossing over into Sussex County, where the trooper eventually lost sight of the suspect vehicle, which was traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph. As the trooper conducted a search for the suspect, he came upon a traffic crash along Concord Sappony Road.

According to state police, it was determined Smith, the driver of the Cruze had struck a 2018 Chevrolet Impala head-on at a bend in the roadway, causing the Cruze to catch fire. The trooper was able to remove Smith from the burning sedan, who was eventually transported to VCU Medical Center in Richmond for treatment of “serious, but non-life-threatening” injuries.

A five-year-old girl died in the Impala while an eight-year-old boy and 30-year-old Latonya Chandler of Stony Creek were taken to area hospitals for treatment. 

Along with involuntary manslaughter, Smith was charged with felony eluding authorities and driving on a revoked license, a misdemeanor. 

Following his release from VCU Medical Center, he was transferred to Riverside Regional Jail in Prince George County as he was brought before a judge in Petersburg in connection with an outstanding warrant for his arrest tied to a felony weapons charge. In May, that case was finalized in the city, with Smith receiving a two-year jail sentence, with a year suspended and $218 in court costs. In addition, he was given a sentence of 30 days behind bars with $410 in court costs as a result of a guilty plea to felony failure to appear charges.

According to court records, he has had prior encounters with law enforcement, including misdemeanor assault and battery charges in Sussex, along with felony concealed weapons and misdemeanor marijuana possession charges in nearby Petersburg.

According to state law, any person who “unintentionally causes the death of another person” may be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum of ten years behind bars and a $2,500 fine. If a court finds that a suspect’s behavior shows “a reckless disregard for human life,” that maximum penalty can be raised to 20 years.

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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