Teen driver charged after two die in Powhite Parkway crash

By Laura Geller - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Police say a drunk teen driver was going the wrong way on the Powhite Parkway and hit another car. The accident happened just before 2:30 Saturday morning in the southbound lanes of the Powhite near the Reams Road overpass.

On Monday, after consultation with the Chesterfield County Commonwealth Attorney's Office, the 17-year-old male juvenile has been charged with two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which is a felony.  He was arrested at his residence late last night without incident and transported to the Chesterfield County Juvenile Detention Center.

Several people called 911 about a SUV driving the wrong way on the Powhite. A source said a police cruiser was nearly hit by the alleged drunk 17-year-old driver while looking for the vehicle. Unfortunately they were too late.

From the looks of the wreckage, you would think emergency responders used the jaws of life to get to the two victims, but the damage is from the accident alone. The collision practically tore off the roof of the BMW. Inside were Imad Elawar, 29, or Eddie as his family called him, and Sammer Ballout, 32.

"The two occupants in the vehicle that was traveling the correct way, the southbound way, were killed on impact," said State Police Sgt. Dane Wyatt.

Their families tell us the two were best friends coming back from a night out in downtown Richmond. Sammer was a nurse and set to start anesthesiology school in the fall. He was looking forward to celebrating his daughter's birthday next week. Eddie was driving; he was an engineer on a business trip and supposed to go back home Monday.

All three were wearing seat belts. The 17-year-old driver was taken to VCU Medical Center with leg injuries. There, police say blood tests showed alcohol in his system. We're told he was released from the hospital with a DUI summons; that's protocol in these types of situations. Virginia State Police say they're working with the Commonwealth's Attorney to decide what other charges to file.

Meanwhile, both Eddie's and Sammer's families explain they're in shock. Relatives teared up while talking about their loved ones. One was heard screaming: "He left way too early."

In addition to alcohol, troopers say speed was a factor in the crash. The teen driver will appear in juvenile court. The Powhite re-opened just before 9 a.m. Saturday morning almost seven hours after the crash.

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