By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: September 25, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – The man who was behind the wheel of a pickup truck while intoxicated before losing control and slamming into another vehicle, injuring several others and claiming the life of a Prince George High School student plead guilty to manslaughter charges in court this month.
According to court records, Dinwiddie native Jeffrey Thomas Rose entered the plea in Prince George County Circuit Court on September 12, the day he was set to go before a jury in connection with a March crash along James River Drive. A pre-sentencing report is set for December.
At the time of the crash, county police reported a 2003 pickup truck driven by Rose was traveling westbound in the 15000 block of James River Drive when he ran off the road to the right. Through the local police department’s investigation, it was revealed that Rose overcorrected to the left and entered the eastbound lane, into the path of a 2003 Acura, with the two cars colliding.
The driver of the Acura, identified as Trevor Aldridge, a student at Prince George High School, died at the scene. Two other passengers inside the sedan and Rose were all transported to VCU Medical Center in Richmond with serious injuries.
Days later, police announced that Rose had been arrested and charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence (with BAC level more than 0.20). The Dinwiddie man remained behind bars at Riverside Regional Jail after efforts to receive bond were denied.
In May, the case was presented to the grand jury, they sufficient evidence was found to move forward with the case in the county’s circuit court, leading to Rose’s guilty plea this month. Due to the ongoing nature of the case, Prince George Commonwealth’s Attorney Susan Fierro has been unable to discuss particulars of the case but, following this month’s plea, she discussed some details of the case and information that was gleaned as part of their investigation.
She noted, with Rose being convicted of aggravated DUI manslaughter and driving while under the influence, the court could sentence them him to “between 1 year and 6 years of active time in prison under the terms of the plea agreement,” noting this charge carries a one-year mandatory minimum and that six years is “the midpoint of the sentencing guidelines for the charge.” In addition, Rose will face a mandatory indefinite driver’s license suspension, fines, and probation set.
In an interview as she summarized some of what was presented in court, Fierro said, “Signs of Rose’s potential intoxication were noted by first responders” on the scene of the fatal crash, with the man admitting to police he had been drinking earlier in the day.
According to Fierro, efforts to attain a blood sample from Rose were hampered by VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where he was transported to following the crash, with the county prosecutor explaining, even though county officers obtained search warrants for both a legal blood draw and Rose’s medical records, “a lack of cooperation” from hospital staff resulted in the blood draw being delayed for several hours, with blood drawn at the hospital showing a Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC of 0.045, which is below the 0.08 legal limit but, as state officials note, can still result in impairment.
“The hospital records that were obtained pursuant to the search warrant contained results of a blood test,” she said. “The toxicologist from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science would have converted the results of that test into a BAC result of approximately 0.19-0.20 at the time of the accident,” nearly three times the legal limit.
In addition, local authorities obtained a search warrant for Rose’s truck in order to obtain its event data recorder, which tracks various driver inputs and can provide key information in the time immediately prior to a crash or similar significant impact. According to the data gleaned from the device, it was revealed that Rose was traveling 75 miles per hour along James River Drive three seconds before the crash.
Rose now awaits sentencing in the case, with a pre-sentencing report set for December 12 in Prince George County Circuit Court, where he faces between one and six years in prison.