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Posted February 8, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Charges reduced for driver in fatal crash

By Candace Sipos -- csipos@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Charges were reduced on Tuesday for a Stephens City woman who is still being held without bond after being accused of causing a fatal crash in July.

Hannah Marie Davies, 18, of 129 Montgomery Circle, was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter and three misdemeanors -- driving while intoxicated, purchasing alcohol for someone underage and failing to wear a seat belt.

Adam Cole Swiridow, 20, also of Stephens City, was in the passenger seat when the vehicle Davies was driving west on Va. 1037 ran off the road, struck a bush and overturned, according to state police Sgt. F.L. "Les" Tyler. The car struck a tree and then a parked car. Swiridow died at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash, Tyler said.

Davies, a high school graduate with no prior record, told the officer at the scene that she was driving fast and lost control of the vehicle, court documents state. She also said she had three or four beers about four hours before driving, and she blew 0.05 in a preliminary breath test.

"She was also under the influence of drugs," according to the documents.

Davies turned herself in to authorities once she learned of the charges.

The breath test is not admissible in court, Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney Glenn R. Williamson said, and a later screening showed that Davis had zero alcohol in her system but evidence of marijuana.

Her driving while intoxicated charge was dropped because of those findings, according to Assistant Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney Andrew M. Robbins.

The involuntary manslaughter charge also was reduced from "aggravated," because the original charge requires evidence of the accused being under the influence, according to Williamson.

Davies' attorney, Randolph N. Bryant, waived her preliminary hearing on the manslaughter charge Tuesday afternoon, but Judge David S. Whitacre convicted her of the seat belt and purchasing alcohol charges. Bryant immediately appealed the latter conviction, and he might also appeal the seat belt charge, according to Robbins.

Robbins is now waiting to see what indictments will come from the grand jury on Thursday.

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