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W.Va. man sentenced to up to 20 years in fatal crash

May 21, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Martinsburg man was sentenced Thursday to 5 1/2 to 20 years in jail for his role in a three-car accident on Interstate 81 last year that left an Orange County, Va., couple dead.

Troy S. Bean of 435 Gantt Drive signed a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of DUI resulting in death, and misdemeanor counts of second-offense DUI and driving while license was revoked for DUI, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Jones said.

The state agreed to dismiss a DUI causing injury charge with the consent of a victim in the case, Jones said.

But in his appearance Thursday before Berkeley County Circuit Judge Gina M. Groh, Bean pleaded guilty to all charges, including DUI causing injury.

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"He did express true remorse," Jones said, referring to comments Bean made to Groh.

A DUI resulting in death conviction carries a prison sentence of two to 10 years in prison and Groh had the choice of ordering the sentences to run consecutively or concurrently.

Groh ordered the sentences to run consecutively, meaning Bean will have to serve at least four years in prison, and he faces a maximum of 20 years for the offenses, Jones said.

For second-offense DUI, Groh sentenced Bean to one year in prison, and for the driving while license was revoked for DUI charge, Groh sentenced Bean to six months in prison, Jones said.

Bean will serve the 1 1/2-year sentence for second-offense DUI and driving while license revoked for DUI at Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, Jones said. A one-year sentence for the DUI causing injury charge will run concurrent with the second-offense DUI and driving while license revoked for DUI offense, Jones said. Bean then will be turned over to the state Division of Corrections to begin serving the four- to 20-year sentence, Jones said.

Groh also ordered Bean to pay $3,300 in fines, pay the estate of the Diamonds more than $15,000 in restitution and pay $150 in restitution to Stevenson, Jones said.

Howard Diamond, 80, and his wife, Nancy A. Diamond, 70, of Locust Grove, Va., were killed in the Aug. 14, 2008, accident near Exit 16 of I-81.

The Diamonds were southbound in a Ford station wagon when their vehicle was struck head-on by a Ford F-150 truck that had sideswiped a Nissan Altima, police have said.

The Diamonds were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Nissan, Lonn Stevenson of Hagerstown, was treated for back and wrist pain and released, police have said. The DUI causing injury charge was related to Stevenson, Jones said.

Bean was found on the ground next to the F-150 he was driving and had one leg through the driver's-side door in the passenger compartment, according to a complaint filed by West Virginia State Police Trooper J.D. Schuessler.

Bean suffered a collapsed lung and other major injuries, Schuessler said. Beer cans were found on the ground around the driver and inside the truck, Schuessler said.

At the time of the accident, the Diamonds were on their way home from Ann Arbor, Mich., where they, friends and family had celebrated Howard Diamond's birthday, which was three days before the crash, according to an obituary published online by The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va.

Howard Diamond was a scientist and Nancy Diamond was an artist, Jones said.

Family members of the Diamonds traveled from Michigan, Washington and North Carolina to attend Thursday's sentencing for Bean, Jones said.

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