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Driver in fatal Mount Vernon crash sentenced to prison, prosecutors say

The U.S. District Court in Alexandria (via Google Maps)

A 22-year-old man from Alexandria will serve over two years in prison for a fatal, single-car crash on the George Washington Memorial Parkway that involved speeding, alcohol and drug use, the Department of Justice announced last week.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Samuel Meyer was driving south on the GW Parkway on May 31, 2020 when he lost control of his Toyota Tacoma truck around 5:45 p.m. near Mount Vernon Circle.

“As the road curves, Meyer lost control of his truck, left the roadway, and crashed into the woods next to the travel lanes,” prosecutors said. “The truck crashed with such force that the skin of the passenger side of the vehicle was peeled off entirely, and the front passenger door of the vehicle was embedded into a tree a short distance from where the truck came to a stop.”

A front-seat passenger identified as 19-year-old Michael Cunningham later died at a hospital from “blunt trauma injuries to his head, neck, trunk, and extremities.” Meyer and a passenger in the vehicle’s back seat were also treated for minor injuries.

An electronic data recorder in the vehicle indicated Meyer was driving over 85 mph in a 35-mph zone when he crashed. Alcohol and other drugs were also found in his system, according to the news release:

About three and a half hours after the crash, blood samples were taken from Meyer. An analysis showed that Meyer’s blood alcohol content was .09 g/100 mL, still above the legal limit hours after the crash. Also present in Meyer’s blood were benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite of cocaine; THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana; and cocaethylene, which is formed by the liver when cocaine and alcohol coexist in the blood.

Prosecutors say an investigation determined that Meyer made no attempt to brake and instead had his foot on the accelerator in the five seconds prior to impact, despite suggestions to slow down from the truck’s passengers.

Meyer pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced by a federal judge on Friday (Sept. 16) to 30 months in prison, according to court records.

Photo via Google Maps

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