Driver charged with negligent homicide in one-vehicle accident

December 08, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY


A Martinsburg man has been charged with negligent homicide in a late-September accident in which a Jeep Wrangler hit a tree and flipped, and that involved a passenger who died a week later in a hospital, according to court records.

Shannon V. "Jay" Jays, 28, was charged with negligent homicide and driving with an expired license, both misdemeanor offenses. Court records listed three different addresses for Jays - 1100 Royal Crest Drive, 134 Fawn Haven Court and 2176 Golf Course Road, all in Martinsburg.

The wreck happened Sept. 30 on Golf Course Road. When Cpl. Will Henderson of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department arrived, he saw a red 1995 Jeep Wrangler in the middle of the road, with a person on the ground next to the Jeep, records state.


An off-duty Martinsburg Police Department patrolman was at the scene and had the driver of the Jeep in the back of his police cruiser, records state.

The two officers tried to provide first aid to the man on the ground, Jonathan R. Berry, 25, but his injuries were too severe. He was flown by helicopter to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center, where he died almost a week later on Oct. 6, police said.

While speaking to Jays at the accident scene, Henderson "observed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the defendant's breath," records state.

Berry was not asked to perform any field sobriety tests but did take a preliminary breath test, which he passed, records state. The test showed a measurable amount of alcohol, records allege.

At City Hospital, Jays gave written consent to have a blood sample taken but no blood was drawn because a doctor had not ordered it, police said.

Investigators determined that the Jeep crossed the center line on Golf Course Road and hit a large rock. The Jeep kept moving and hit a tree, causing it to flip, police said. Neither Jays nor Berry was wearing a seat belt, and both were thrown from the Jeep, police said.

Police also learned that Jays' driver's license expired in April 2002 and had not been renewed, records state.

Jays was arraigned on the charges Wednesday and released on $10,500 bond.

Conviction on a charge of negligent homicide carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.

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