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Boy killed in wrong-way crash on I-95

Posted at 9:06 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 09:12:38-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The driver charged in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 95 that killed a grandmother and her grandson appeared in Chesterfield County Court Monday.

Danielle McDaniel, 32, of Petersburg, was charged with two counts of felony driving under the influence of alcohol manslaughter, two counts of felony DUI maiming, and one count misdemeanor DUI second offense in 10 years.

McDaniel, according to police, was driving her Jeep Liberty south in the northbound lanes of I-95 near Woods Edge Road (exit 58) on Friday night.

It was there, police said, she drove head-on into a Nissan Altima.

The driver of the Nissan Altima, 43-year-old Reinee Thomas, of Glen Allen, was not wearing her seat belt. She died in the crash. A one-year-old boy in the backseat, who was in a child safety seat, also died. Two women and a three-month-old girl also in the car were injured in the crash.

McDaniel, according to court paperwork, told police she drank a beer and a glass of wine before getting into the car the night of Friday, March 27.

"You're impaired just with a little bit of alcohol, but generally you're going to know when you're going the wrong way on the road. When you're making decisions like that, you've got to have a fair amount of alcohol in you," Chris Konschak, Director at MADD Virginia, said.

Virginia State Trooper said McDaniel did.

She flunked the field sobriety test and blew a .20 on scene, more than twice the legal limit, according to a court affidavit.

A decision to drive, late Friday night, that cost a little boy and his grandmother their lives.

"It's been a relatively quiet time for DUIs in Virginia, the past couple of weeks with everything going on with COVID-19, but we anticipate, as people become more frustrated being at home and drinking just to not think about everything that's going on that some more bad decisions are going to be made," Konschak said. "One of the things that people often do is drink. And so we just want to make sure that people are thinking about that decision. And not getting behind the wheel of a car and making sure that they stay home and don't go out on the roads"

McDaniel is due back in court on May 1.