Charge in fatal crash goes forward
Emotions ran high in Hanover’s General District Courtroom Tuesday as a widower retold the story of how his wife died in a fatal January crash.
This came before General District Court Judge Hon. Thomas Jones forwarded to a grand jury a charge of involuntary manslaughter against Michael Carlson related to the crash that killed Meg Menzies, a mother of three. A related charge of driving while intoxicated was dropped during the hearing, but impaired driving is implied in the felony charge that was certified.
The victim’s husband, Sgt. Scott Menzies, of the Ashland Police Department, was with his wife Meg Menzies at the time of the crash.
During his testimony, Menzies recalled that January day, when he and his wife were running along E. Patrick Henry Road and a vehicle, which belonged to Carlson, ran off the road into the ditch and struck her. Menzies said he saw the vehicle coming and went into the opposite lane while his wife tried to run into the ditch. Menzies said he told the driver to call 911 and then went to his wife’s aid. At that point, she was unconscious and still breathing.
When Carlson approached the couple, Menzies said he discovered the man was a doctor and asked him to help his wife. Carlson asked her if she could hear him several times, Menzies said. Menzies said he noticed that Carlson’s speech was slurred and asked him if he had been drinking to which he replied “no.”
Another witness was Michael Tilley, deputy with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, who arrived on the scene the morning of the accident and was the investigating officer for the crash. Tilley said he noticed that Carlson’s eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred.
Defense attorney, Chris Bain, representing Carlson, asked if his client told Tilley that he was on medication for previous surgery and a stiff neck at the time of the crash, and Tilley confirmed he had been notified.
A preliminary breath test, or Breathalyzer, showed Carlson’s blood-alcohol content level at the time of the crash was .13, which is above the legal limit of .08. Further tests then showed his BAC was recorded at .11, still above the legal limit.
Tilley said Carlson had consumed some alcohol around 10 p.m. the night before, but hadn’t had anything else.
Some Menzies family members were present as well as officers from the Ashland Police Department, there to support their colleague.
The case will go before the grand jury July 15, where prosecutors will have to show that there is enough reason and evidence for the case to move forward.