Former fire captain pleads guilty in deadly boat crash

Facebook photo: Amanda Brady and Patrick Nixon
Facebook photo: Amanda Brady and Patrick Nixon

By Gene Petriello - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

LANCASTER, VA (WWBT) - The trial for a former Richmond fire captain charged in a boating accident that killed a Henrico County school teacher ended in a plea deal Thursday morning.

Steven Nixon pled guilty this morning to six felonies, including aggravated involuntary manslaughter for the death of Amanda Brady.

The sentencing is set for May 3. Nixon's bond was revoked, and he is in jail until sentencing in Lancaster County.

Steve Nixon's loved ones gathered outside the Lancaster County Jail after the guilty pleas, including his uncle Bill Hall.

"He's okay. He said, pray for me. Just be strong for me and my children. He was thinking of us, holding up extremely well but crushed, you could see it in his face," says Hall.

The firefighter of 20 years, including being a Captain in Richmond. He now sits inside the jail seven months after the boating accident on the Rappahannock River.

The crash killed Henrico school teacher Amanda Brady.

Brady was engaged to Nixon's younger brother.

Terry Share is the family's pastor. He was in court today to console the family. "Steve said last week, you know Pastor Sharpe, it's like I'm serving a life sentence everyday I get up and think of her."

"It rips your heart out about it all. And then you see him disappear out that door," says Hall.

Today inside this courtroom, Nixon's attorneys asked the judge to keep him out of jail until his may sentencing date. But the judge didn't agree.

Testimony revealed that prior to the accident, Nixon and the family were at a bar and combined the six adults had 55 alcoholic drinks in 5 hours.

Nixon's blood alcohol level was .14 about five hours after the crash. Toxicology reports estimated that to be even higher at the time of the crash.

Months later, it is the first time for Nixon to sit in his jail cell overnight. "Hopefully he won't have to stay there very long," says Hall.

Here is more information about the back story that lead up to today's events in the courtroom.

It happened last summer over the Fourth of July holiday weekend on the Rappahannock River. Nixon was charged with nine felonies and two misdemeanors.

This unfolded on July 5, 2010, around 10 p.m. that night. It was a massive emergency response on the Rappahannock River, where several people were injured.

The speed boat was traveling upriver toward the area where Nixon and his family were staying for the night. On that ride home, Nixon slammed head on into a steel channel marker in the middle of the river. That marker was blinking, according to testimony in court. Also, testimony revealed that marker should have been seen for miles down river.

Ten people were on the boat, including several children. Some of those children and adults were thrown from the boat after the impact. Nine people were rescued and sent to the hospital. One person, Henrico School teacher Amanda Brady, was still missing. Her body was found the next morning near the crash site on the bottom of the Rappahannock River.

Amanda Brady was on the boat with the Nixon family because she was engaged to Steve Nixon's younger brother, who was also on the boat.

The other people on the boat were all related to Steve Nixon, including his current wife, stepchildren and cousins.

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