Drunk driver told passengers 'I'm not going back to jail' before fatal crash

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- A 30-year-old man was sentenced for several crimes, including Second Degree Felony Murder, Monday. 

James William Dyson pled guilty in April 2016, for a fatal crash that occurred in January 2014. 

Evidence shows that Dyson was driving an SUV when an officer witnessed him drive through a red light on Lynnhaven Pkwy. The officer then attempted to stop Dyson. Dyson started to slow down, before driving away. The officer turned on her siren and airhorn to make a second attempt at stopping Dyson. Dyson then sped up and fled from police, driving through another red light and striking  a van. The crash caused the SUV driven by Dyson to overturn. 

Dyson was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and was thrown from the vehicle during the crash. The SUV then caught fire with two passengers inside. The passenger in the backseat suffered from a collapsed lung, broken femur, and a closed head injury that has required ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. 

Emergency crews arrived on scene and immediately began treating the victims. The driver of the van was driving through a green light when he was struck by Dyson. That driver died from the impact of the crash. 

The passengers from Dyson's SUV told officers that they told Dyson to stop when the first officer attempted to pull him over, but he told them he didn't have a license and wasn't going back to jail. 

Dyson refused to do a breath test at the scene, a blood test was conducted later at a hospital, which revealed that his blood alcohol content through serum was a .16, double the legal limit in Virginia. 

Dyson's criminal history dates back to his juvenile years. He has multiple traffic and alcohol related violations, along with convictions for Burglary, Grand Larceny, Hit and Run, Concealed Weapon, Possession of a Firearm by Felon, and Reckless Driving. 

Dyson was sentenced Monday for Second Degree Felony Murder, Eluding Police, Endangerment, DUI - Victim Permanently Impaired, Driving on a Suspended License, Refusal of Blood/Breath Test, and Failure to Wear a Seatbelt. 

Dyson received a sentence of 40 years and nine months in prison, with 13 years suspended. 


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