A VCU student was killed walking on Richmond sidewalk, drivers were cited in crash but not his death

Posted at 4:33 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 16:33:08-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two drivers were cited in connection to the May 2023 crash that killed VCU student Shawn Soares,CBS 6 News has confirmed.

One of the drivers was charged with making an improper turn and the other driver was charged with speeding.

Neither driver was charged with Soares' death, according to Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin.

Soares, 26, was killed while walking on the sidewalk along the 300 block of West Main Street, near N. Madison Street.

"Officers arrived and found two vehicles had been operating westbound on West Main Street when they collided," a Richmond Police spokesperson wrote in an email following the crash. "One vehicle left the roadway and struck a pole and an adult male on the sidewalk. The vehicle continued and impacted a building."

McEachin said while the crash was awful, neither driver did anything criminal. She said while the one driver was speeding, they were not going fast enough to be charged with reckless driving.

She said Soares was tragically standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"It’s especially horrific because he was on my husband’s staff and worked with Donald [late Virginia Congressman Don McEachin] and so there is that added level even, though I did not know him personally," she said. "He was clearly a young man who had his whole life ahead of him and was destined to do good things for society. And this happened and it literally was an accident it was not intentional on anyone’s side."

The Soares' family provided the following statement through its attorneys:

The civil wrongful death lawsuit against the involved drivers is pending further investigation and prosecution by the Richmond Commonwealth Attorney’s office. The family of Shawn Soares is represented by the personal injury law firm of Cannella & O’Neal in downtown Richmond. No further comment can be made at this time.

The crash and Soares’ death prompted VCU President Michael Rao to push for changes to city streets and sidewalks adjacent to campus. One week after the crash, the City of Richmond added speed tables to slow down traffic along stretches of Main and Cary streets.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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