BEDFORD — A Goode man charged with the vehicular manslaughter of a 75-year-old woman in early April had a substantial amount of methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash, prosecutors said Wednesday.
When police confronted 37-year-old Lewis Dane Arthur on April 6 at the scene of the crash, which happened on Burks Hill Road a half mile north of U.S. 460, he was “disoriented and not making sense,” according to prosecutor John Wheelock.
Arthur had crossed the double yellow line in his truck just after 9 a.m. and struck Helen Ramsey Parker’s car head-on, according to Virginia State Police. Parker, a Roanoke woman who Wheelock said was delivering food to her 90-year-old parents in Monroe, died at the scene.
Analyses of blood taken from Arthur at the time, which took a month to process and led to Arthur’s arrest on June 26, showed he had high levels of meth and THC in his blood, Wheelock said.
Arthur is charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and a lower traffic infraction from the crash.
During questioning at a bond hearing Friday, Arthur said he was released from a drug and alcohol treatment program in December.
Wearing a clear back brace over his orange jail uniform in Bedford General District Court, he described the injuries he sustained from the crash: five broken vertebrae, cracked and broken ribs, a fractured ankle and lacerated liver. While his back is healing, he said further injury could paralyze him.
Wheelock said Arthur’s intoxication level and criminal history made him a risk to the community and asked for him to be held without bond.
If convicted, this would be Arthur’s fifth DUI, Wheelock said.
Arthur said in court he hasn’t been charged in the past nine years — his last DUI conviction was in 2010 — and he’s never been convicted of a felony, a violent crime or a failure to appear for a court date.
R. Andrew Davis, Arthur’s attorney, said his client voluntarily turned himself in and would agree to undergo substance abuse counseling with regular reports to the court. He suggested a bond of $25,000.
Retired Judge Harold Black said he agreed with Wheelock’s concerns and denied Arthur bond.
He’s being held at the Amherst County Adult Detention Center in solitary confinement due to his injuries and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 4.
Rachel Mahoney covers courts for The News & Advance. Reach her at 434-385-5554.