Harrisonburg man found guilty of involuntary manslaughter

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A Harrisonburg man was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Thursday after a deadly car crash in 2019.

Tyler Weaver, 21, was behind the wheel in May 2019 when he struck pedestrian Jeremy Cupp on Route 11 near Mt. Sidney.

Cupp had been standing on the shoulder of the road while waiting for a bus when he was struck by Weaver. Cupp was flown to UVA Medical Center with life-threatening injuries and died two days later.

Several witnesses were called on to testify on Thursday. One man, who was driving behind Weaver when the crash happened, said he was “shocked” because it did not look like Weaver had slowed down at all, and he did not think he saw Weaver’s brake lights come on. Another man who testified was pumping gas at the Royal Mart across the street when the crash happened. He said he heard the impact of the crash, but he did not hear any tires screeching as if a car was trying to brake.

Weaver testified that his car malfunctioned and his brakes were not working properly. He said his wheel pulled to the left when he tried to brake, and he just wanted to get out of the way of traffic. Weaver said he did everything he could to avoid an accident. There were no allegations that Weaver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and it was inconclusive if Weaver was using his phone at the time of the crash.

Evidence provided by prosecutors showed the brake lights on Weaver’s car did work when it was towed from the scene that day. When his car was taken to be evaluated the next day, it was found that his brakes worked. The mechanic did note that the wheel did slightly pull to the left when braking, but it did not take much effort to correct and he still came to a stop immediately.

The defense motioned to strike the case, arguing there was not enough evidence to prove Weaver’s actions were egregious or callous. The judged overruled the motion, noting Weaver was unlawfully out of his lane and did not apply the brakes or do what he should have to avoid hitting Cupp.

Weaver pleaded not guilty, however, the judge found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which is a Class 5 felony.

Weaver’s sentencing has been set for January 22, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

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