Hanover teen pleads guilty in crash that killed friends

Posted at 6:54 AM, Apr 20, 2017

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. - The driver charged in crash that killed two young men on Cold Harbor Road in Hanover last April pleaded guilty inside a Hanover courtroom Thursday afternoon.

Nicholas Seth Fleming, who was 18 at the time of the April 2016 crash, pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Seth Fleming

During the 45-minute hearing, prosecutors presented evidence to Judge Patricia Kelly since this case did not go to trial.

Prosecutors showed pictures of Fleming’s bloodied face with the front end of his 2001 Dodge Ram pickup wrapped around a tree.

According to prosecutors, the day started with drinking at the NASCAR race, swimming at a friend's house and then a beer run at a convenience store around 10:23 p.m. on April 23.

A witness reported seeing the pickup tailgating and then racing down Cold Harbor Road about 70 mph before it slammed into a tree.

The crash killed passengers Dylan Ballard, a 17-year-old Lee-Davis High School senior, and Elliott Hinton, a 22-year-old Radford University student. Four other friends in Fleming's vehicle were hurt.
According to the medical examiner's report, both Ballard and Hinton died of acute blunt force head injuries.

Dylan Ballard and Elliot Hinton

Prosecutors said witnesses at the crash scene described Fleming as hysterical and heard Fleming repeatedly say: "I don't want to go to jail...I can't go to jail."

Fleming also admitted that he was wasted.

One of the passengers told investigators everyone in the Dodge Ram had been drinking and smoking marijuana the night of the crash.

Investigators also detected a strong odor of marijuana and saw beer cans inside the vehicle.

Fatal crash on Cold Harbor Road in April 2016

In January, a Hanover judge denied bond to Fleming, calling him a danger to himself and to a lesser extent others.

The judge made that statement after hearing from a pre-trial supervisor who testified Fleming was terminated from a rehabilitation program at New Life Journey after he tested positive for cocaine and missed one than one appointment.

Fleming will be sentenced in the case on Aug. 10.



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