Staunton woman sentenced to 10 years for crash that killed her brother, child

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (Oct. 17):

Mugshot of Trinity King

A Staunton woman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for a crash that killed her child and brother nearly a year ago on Hermitage Road (Rt. 254) outside of Waynesboro.

Trinity King, 26, was in Augusta County Circuit Court on Thursday morning for sentencing.

She pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of aggravated manslaughter for the crash in which 27-year-old Terry L. King, of Waynesboro, and Trinity's 2-year-old child were both killed.

At court on Thursday, witnesses gave testimony throughout the morning. The prosecution called Steve Hardy – the other driver involved in the head-on crash – to the stand, as well as a Waynesboro First Aid medic, who said it was "one of the worst crashes" she's ever seen. That medic was one of the first responders who attempted to care for the 2-year-old child.

Hardy told the court he had been coming from Waynesboro when he saw another car in his lane and moved to the shoulder to try and avoid a crash. He remembers a lot he wishes he didn't, including details of the windshields in both vehicles breaking and seeing two faces pressed up against the windshield in the other car.

He suffered severe injuries, including broken ribs and a broken leg, and had to undergo six surgeries in the weeks after the crash.

State laboratory testing confirmed that King had methamphetamine and alcohol in her system at the time of the crash.

Virginia State Police said when she was taken to UVA Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries, a doctor found a small plastic bag in her bra, which her warrant said is a known way of transporting drugs. Police also found a container in the car filled with a white crystal substance near cotton swabs and straws.

During her sentencing hearing, the defense called family members to the stand, who said Trinity was a good mother to all her children. Her fiance said she was a stay-at-home mom with the three children, and that he forgives her for the crash.

According to recorded calls between King and others during her time in jail, she said the children in the backseat were screaming, and she was dealing with them instead of paying attention to the road when she swerved into the other lane.

She also said how much she misses her children and how she wants to have another child to replace the one killed in the crash.

On one of the calls from Middle River Regional Jail, played by a correctional officer, she also asked her fiance if it looked like she was gaining weight and talked about how she wants to make sure she keeps looking good for him. The judge said he couldn't comprehend making that kind of call from jail in King's situation.

According to Virginia State Police, she was driving a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta south on Hermitage Rd. (Rt. 254) on Oct. 25, 2018, when she crossed the center line into the northbound lane in the 3200 block, not far from Henkel Road.

Hardy, driving a 2001 Chevy Silverado, was heading north and swerved to the right to try and avoid her, but was still struck nearly head-on.

King, who was not wearing a seat belt, was airlifted to UVA Medical Center. Terry King was in the passenger seat, also not wearing a seat belt, and died at the scene.

There were three children in the backseat: a 6-month-old infant, a 2-year-old, and a 5-year-old. The infant was secured in a car seat and only suffered minor injuries. The 2-year-old and 5-year-old were not secured in child safety seats. The 5-year-old was taken to UVA Medical Center with serious injuries and the 2-year-old died at the scene.

The driver of the Silverado suffered serious injuries as well.

Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Martin concluded by saying that King's disregard for the lives of the people in her car was astounding, and he asked for seven years for each charge, to total 14 years. He also said he had seen very little remorse from King since the crash.

The defense said it was a tragic situation, quoting King as saying, "I got to live the rest of my life with this remorse and regret." They said her pleading guilty showed that she took responsibility and asked for her to spend time in a treatment program instead of prison.

According to Martin, no plea deal was taken in King's case when she pleaded guilty this year, but they chose not to prosecute any other charges, like driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated, child abuse and possession of controlled substances, which were initially listed on her arrest warrant last year.

The judge asked King if she had anything to say, and she told Steve Hardy she was sorry, knows she did wrong, should have had the children in carseats, and said she has to live with her mistake for the rest of her life.

She was ultimately sentenced to 10 years for each charge. On one count, seven years were suspended, and on the other, three were suspended, making her total active time 10 years.

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UPDATE (May 14):

Trinity King, the woman who officials says was behind the wheel of a car involved in a fatal crash outside of Waynesboro on Oct. 25, 2018, was scheduled to be in court earlier Tuesday afternoon.

King's hearing in Augusta County General District Court was continued, but court records show she has another hearing in August.

Among other charges, King is charged with two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter.

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UPDATE (Oct. 29, 2018):

There are new updates about the fatal car crash that happened on Hermitage Road outside of Waynesboro earlier this month.

According to search warrants, the driver of the Jetta is charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter, reckless driving, driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated, child abuse and possession of controlled substances.

Police believe that controlled substance is meth. A doctor found a small plastic bag in the woman's bra, which the warrant says is a known way of transporting drugs. Police say they also found a container in the car filled with a white crystal substance near cotton swabs and straws.

Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Martin says the investigation is still ongoing.

"There is laboratory work to be done," Martin said, "there's laboratory analysis of blood and also other laboratory analyses that need doing to determine what, if anything else was in the system of the driver."

As the investigation continues, more charges could be filed. However, Martin could only confirm that there are two counts of DUI manslaughter against the driver, who he identified as Trinity King.

According to Senior Trooper G.D. McCoy Jr., who's leading the investigation, King, a 25-year-old Staunton woman, was driving a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta south on Hermitage Rd. (Rt. 254) when she crossed the center line into the northbound lane in the 3200 block, not far from Henkel Road.

A 49-year-old Staunton man driving a 2001 Chevy Silverado was heading north and swerved to the right to try and avoid the oncoming Jetta, but was still struck nearly head-on.

King was airlifted to UVA Medical Center, where she is undergoing treatment for serious injuries. Police say she was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Since she remains in the hospital, charges against her have not officially been filed yet.

Her passenger, 27-year-old Terry L. King, of Waynesboro, was also not wearing a seat belt and died at the scene.

According to police, there were three boys in the backseat. A 6-month-old infant secured in a car seat was taken to Augusta Health for treatment of minor injuries. A 5-year-old and a 2-year-old were not secured in child safety seats. The 5-year-old was taken to UVA Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries. The 2-year-old died at the scene.

The Staunton man who had been driving the Silverado was taken to UVA Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries. He was wearing a seat belt.