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Man pleads guilty in fatal crash

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A Stephens City man could face prison time for causing a fatal crash in Frederick County in October.

Todd Michael Riley appeared in Frederick County Circuit Court on Thursday for a jury trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. Instead, Riley pleaded guilty to both charges.

Authorities had accused Riley, 25, of 121 Fair Lawn Court, of causing the Oct. 25 fatal crash that killed Laura Margaret Ruscito, 22, of Stephens City.

An agreement reached between Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Andrew Robbins and Riley's legal counsel, Gregory Bowman, called for the defendant to plead guilty to the two offenses but left the punishment up to the court to determine.

Retired Judge Gaylord Finch accepted the plea agreement.

A judge can sentence Riley to as much as 10 years in the state prison system for the class 5 felony of involuntary manslaughter. Riley could receive a punishment of up to 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500 for the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving.

The agreement also allows Riley to remain free on bond until his sentencing set for June 21.

Virginia police accused Riley of driving a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette which collided with a 2003 Nissan Xterra SUV on Springdale Road near Shady Elm Road the night of Oct. 25. Ruscito died at the scene, according to state police. Rescue workers took the occupants of the Nissan, identified as Nathan Manuel and Sabrina See, as well as Riley, to Winchester Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash.

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