Jury recommends 3 years in prison in River Road hit and run - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Jury recommends 3 years in prison in River Road hit and run

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The man convicted in last year's deadly hit and run crash on River Road will serve prison time. Thursday morning, jurors recommended a sentence of three years in the case of Elias Webb. This after they spent three days hearing about how Lanie Kruszewski was killed while riding her bike.

Kruszewski's family had very little, if any, reaction as the judge read the jury's sentence recommendation. Just a few feet away but in a very different place emotionally, Elias Webb wiped tears from his eyes, clenched his jaw and put his head down.

Webb is a free man for now, at least until his formal sentencing in May if he obeys all restrictions. A judge allowed the 31-year-old to go home with his family after increasing his bond to $400,000 and mandating he is still not allowed to drive.

Family members and friends didn't have much to say to our cameras after the jury recommended the three years of prison time.

"Thank you for the opportunity but the gag order is still in effect until May 16," Webb's defense attorney Craig Cooley said when asked for comment.

Although the gag order does not apply to family members, Lanie Kruszewski's loved ones quietly left, avoiding the large media spotlight, which has been shining on the family, since Lanie was killed while riding her bike last July.

NBC12 asked Lanie's boyfriend Daniel Pritchett if he wasn't actually allowed to talk to us. His response was, "I can't."

Our legal expert says it is possible the family doesn't want to do anything to influence the sentencing or disrupt the process. We do not know, at this point, who directed them not to speak out.

This was a very different reaction than we got Wednesday night after the guilty verdict came down.

"We believe all the actions and all the actions and words that Webb spoke were very cowardly in just trying to avoid punishment, so we're very glad that the jury saw that too," Lanie's sister Leah Kruszewski said Wednesday.

While they wait for the next step, they say, they can begin to grieve their loss.

"Not only did he kill Lanie and leave her for dead but the longer this has been going on he's just been spitting on her grave, so I'm glad that's over," Pritchett asserted.

Webb testified in his own defense Tuesday, saying he told his father he believed he had hit Lanie Kruszewski around noon the day after the crash. Webb has maintained he thought he hit a deer while driving down River Road and didn't realize that he had hit Kruszewski until the next day.

To put it in perspective, Webb was facing as little as a maximum $2,500 fine. Other options included up to a year in jail, the fine plus jail time and the one to ten years in prison.

Webb is expected to remain free on bond until his formal sentencing on May 16. Then, the judge is not allowed to add time to the jury's sentence, but she can suspend time, if she chooses.

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