Morrisonville Road Manslaughter Case Continued to June

A preliminary hearing for Zachary Frye, the 19-year-old charged with involuntary manslaughter and DWI after hitting and killing Lauren McDarby along Morrisonville Road in January, has been continued to June 24.

At the request of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Judge Karen A. Henenberg, a retired Arlington County General District Court judge, also agreed to amend Frye’s charge from involuntary manslaughter to aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which can be charged in cases where “the conduct of the defendant was so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life,” according to Virginia law.

While both charges are Class 5 felonies, involuntary manslaughter is punishable by 1-10 years in prison, while aggravated involuntary manslaughter is punishable by 1-20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of one year behind bars.

According to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the fatal crash occurred at about 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 4, when Frye struck McDarby while she was walking along Morrisonville Road. Frye had allegedly been drinking.

After the crash, dozens of Morrisonville residents met to form a community alliance to address traffic and pedestrian safety concerns along the road. Their ideas included requesting VDOT decrease speed limits and convert the Morrisonville/Purcellville Road intersection into a three-way stop and, to keep pedestrians off the roadway, requesting the Board of Supervisors to keep Morrisonville in mind when working on the Emerald Ribbons Initiative—a proposed countywide system of interconnected parks and unpaved trails to be located on land donated by private landowners.

Zion Lutheran Church’s caution sign works to slow drivers traveling around a sharp turn on Morrisonville Road, near the spot where Lauren McDarby was killed by a suspected drunken driver while walking along the road Jan. 4. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

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