Driver in Fatal Prince George Crash was convicted in 2009 of involuntary manslaughter

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Brandon Jarvis

On Wednesday, Prince George crews responded to an accident scene on the 4300 block of Mount Sinai Road. When crews arrived, they found a vehicle with heavy damage that ran off the side of the road into the woods.

Clarence Thomas, 37, of Chesterfield, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, William Besley, 39, of Hopewell, was transported to the hospital by helicopter with life-threatening injuries. Police said cell phone usage may have been a factor in the accident.

The driver William Besley, was convicted in 2009 of Involuntary Manslaughter after a drunk driving accident. We have confirmed that the driver in the 2018 accident, and the driver convicted in 2009 are the same person. Besley was involved in a head on collision that left one man dead 3 years before he was convicted in Hopewell on November 1st, of 2006.

The Progress Index reported in 2009 that “Besley, the driver of the Oldsmobile, entered the westbound lane of traffic just north of the curve on Cedar Level Road and at the point of impact, Besley’s vehicle was entirely in Blount’s lane of travel, according to Sylvester.”

William Besley, of Hopewell, was convicted in December of 2009 by Circuit Court Judge James F. D’Alton Jr. for involuntary manslaughter related to the Nov. 1, 2006, death of James Blount of Petersburg, according to Hopewell Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony N. Sylvester.

Besley was sentenced to serve 10 years for the 2006 accident, with 7 years, 2 months suspended.  The accident investigation in 2006 was apparently botched by the Hopewell Police department causing the conviction to happen 3 years after the accident.

The Progress Index article from 2009 states that “mistakes were made during the crash investigation, including a failure to preserve the crime scene and the collection of physical evidence. Specifically, the police supervisor cleared the crash of the two vehicles and there was no investigation done of the skidmarks and scrapes on the pavement.”

We found Facebook posts for a petition back in 2010 that was lobbying for what they said was a fair sentence for Besley.

The current crash investigation is still under investigation by police, and they have not announced any updates yet. Besley is in stable condition according to Facebook.

We will update you when we have more details.


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