By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: June 4, 2019 | 5:45 p.m.
Five-year-old girl killed in crash as suspect fled from pursuing troopers
DINWIDDIE – The suspect charged in connection with a police pursuit that ended in the death of a five-year-old girl and left two others seriously injured is expected to return to Sussex County General District Court in July to face manslaughter charges.
According to court records, 29-year-old Toriando B. Smith of Petersburg has been charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter, one felony count of eluding police and driving on a revoked license following an early April police pursuit that started in Dinwiddie County and made its way into Sussex where it ended in a deadly two-vehicle crash along a rural roadway in the county.
Following the deadly pursuit, Virginia State Police gave an account of what happened during the April 3 pursuit. Just before 8 a.m. that morning, a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze driven by Smith was observed going nearly 15 mph over the posted 25 mph speed limit along Halligan Park Road. A state trooper immediately activated his lights and initiated a traffic stop.
As the trooper approached the vehicle on foot, it was then Smith sped away from authorities.
The pursuit made its way along Route 40 in Dinwiddie before crossing over into Sussex County, where the trooper eventually lost sight of the suspect vehicle, which was traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph. As the trooper conducted a search for the suspect, he came upon a traffic crash along Concord Sappony Road.
According to state police, it was determined Smith, the driver of the Cruze had struck a 2018 Chevrolet Impala head-on at a bend in the roadway, causing the Cruze to catch fire. The trooper was able to remove Smith from the burning sedan, who was eventually transported to VCU Medical Center in Richmond for treatment of “serious, but non-life-threatening” injuries.
In the Impala, a five-year-old girl died as a result of the crash while an eight-year-old boy and 30-year-old Latonya Chandler of Stony Creek were transported to VCU Medical Center and Southside Regional Medical Center, respectively.
Following the deadly crash, in mid-April, Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller said they were in active discussions with the commonwealth’s attorney on the matter of additional charges against Smith but, at that point, no further charges had been levied against the suspect.
During the time between the pursuit and his eventual transfer from VCU Medical Center, it was revealed that Smith had prior encounters with law enforcement and was indeed wanted in connection with prior offenses.
According to Virginia’s online court records database, a bench warrant was issued for Smith’s arrest in Sussex County after he did not appear in court in connection with a 2016 misdemeanor assault and battery charge. That bench warrant was issued against Smith in February of 2017.
Prior to that, Smith pled guilty to felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon in Petersburg Circuit Court in May of 2016. That plea resulted in Smith receiving a two-year jail sentence, all of which was suspended and a $513 fine. He was also convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession in the city’s general district court, where he received a $384 fine.
Smith’s rap sheet in Petersburg continued to grow as, in March of 2017, Smith was arrested in connection with another felony concealed weapons violation. According to court records, the case was set for trial, with a show cause hearing set for March of 2018.
A capias for Smith’s arrest was filed after that hearing, which, following last month’s deadly crash, the 29-year-old was placed under arrest, according to the city’s court documents, a year after that capias was filed. As of last week, court records show that the Petersburg case has been finalized, with Smith receiving a two-year jail sentence, with a year suspended and $218 in court costs. In addition, he was given a sentence of 30 days behind bars with $410 in court costs as a result of a guilty plea to felony failure to appear charges.
Current records as of this report show Smith as being incarcerated at Riverside Regional Jail in Prince George County.
He is expected to return to Sussex County General District on July 18 on those three charges.
According to state law, any person who “unintentionally causes the death of another person” may be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum of ten years behind bars and a $2,500 fine. If a court finds that a suspect’s behavior shows “a reckless disregard for human life,” that maximum penalty can be raised to 20 years.