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Police seek information in three deadly crashes in 10 days

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:43 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Two deadly accidents that occurred within 12 hours of each other have now pushed Henrico County past 2020′s numbers when it comes to traffic-related deaths.

Through Oct. 26, 2021, 31 men and women have been killed in 28 crashes in Henrico; 2020 saw 30 deaths in 27 crashes.

However, police are urging the community to think beyond the numbers, each one representing a victim and their family.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to receive that notice at two o’clock in the morning,” said Henrico Police Lt. Rob Netherland.

Netherland’s sister was killed years ago by a drunk driver. Throughout his career, he has also been on the other side of sharing that message.

“I’ve had to give that notice well over 100 times with my years on the crash team and ever since,” he said. “So, I know that feeling to lose a loved one.”

However a lack of information in several deadly crashes only adds to the pain for grieving families, like that of 27-year-old DeShawn Johnson.

On Oct. 16 just before 11 p.m., Johnson had gotten out of his car on Nuckols Road when he was struck by another car. The driver who hit him did not stop or stay at the scene.

“Young in his life, got a job, is working... to be left in the road to die, and no one stop and... I’m gonna say and be honest about it, the coward that hit him and killed him and left him in the street to die, yeah we want to know who that is,” Netherland said.

Investigators are waiting on trace evidence to come back tied to the crash but ultimately need help from the public.

“For his family, that is, we know they’re terribly distraught over this,” Netherland said. “We want to help them as much as we can, give them some closure to what they need.”

Police also need help with what unfolded along Laburnum Avenue near Montclair Road early Tuesday morning.

Investigators said an SUV was turning onto Laburnum when a motorcycle crashed into the front end.

“We’re still investigating whether there was any speed involved or could this be – you don’t want to simplify anything that involves a death, but a person not yielding at a stop sign,” Netherland said.

The motorcyclist, 32-year-old David Peacock, was thrown from his bike and taken to the hospital for his injuries where he later died.

The driver of the SUV remained on scene and is cooperating with authorities, but no one else spoke to police, according to Netherland.

“Laburnum Avenue is an extremely busy road all hours of the day, especially during rush hour this morning,” he added. “We find it hard to believe that no one saw anything. We had absolutely no witnesses stop to give an account of what they saw.”

Similar to Johnson’s crash, Netherland urges people to stop in the future and do the right thing.

“I get the apprehension to sometimes want to stop and get involved in certain things, but when it comes to human life and life safety, I don’t know how you can’t stop,” he said. “I’m not saying you’ve got to be the one to run up and provide CPR, but at least stop and give some account of what occurred.”

Meanwhile, there was another accident Monday night in Glen Allen that killed a 60-year-old Harrisonburg man.

Police were called after 9 p.m. to a business in the 8400 block of Sanford Drive for a man who was struck by a truck backing up.

Netherland said Norman Hays, Jr. was acting as a spotter as the truck was backing into the loading dock when he was caught in between. Hays was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Police said there was no reckless behavior in this incident, and charges are not likely.

Netherland encourages drivers to use safe practices on the road, mainly based on the current traffic-related statistics.

“Last year total, we had 27 crashes with 30 deaths,” he said. “We’ve still got two whole months and the holidays are coming up. Unfortunately, we know we’re going to have more.”

YEARCRASHESFATALITIES
2021 (Through Oct. 26)2831
20202730
20192626

Per 2021 statistics thus far regarding traffic-related deaths, Netherland says about 33% are speed-related, 20% alcohol-related and 20% result from a person not wearing a seatbelt.

“The motoring public is just not following the rules, which is the law, and if you’re not following the law there should be consequences,” Netherland said. “Take your time, we say it a lot, but it must go through one ear and out the other because apparently, no one is heeding to it.”

Anyone with information about these fatal crashes is asked to call Henrico Police at (804)501-5000. Individuals may also submit anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers at P3Tips.com or (804)780-1000.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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