Wednesday, August 22, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
A judge rejected a plea agreement Monday that would have sent a Wirtz teenager to juvenile detention for involuntary manslaughter in the death of another teenager who was riding in her car on Jan. 23.
Marina Danelle Snyder, 18, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Zachary Ian Parsons, 17, of Boones Mill, who was a front-seat passenger in the 2000 Mercury Cougar she was driving when the crash occurred on Route 122. Four others were injured in the crash.
"The plea agreement is too lenient in this case," said Franklin County Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II.
"There is absolutely no evidence that she (Snyder) has accepted responsibility for her actions," the judge added, referring to the presentence report. "She denies that what happened is her fault."
After his ruling, Alexander told the defense attorneys they could request another judge to rule on the plea agreement.
The agreement calls for Snyder to plead guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge, receive a 10-year prison sentence with all the time suspended and be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice. Youths committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice usually serve an indeterminate amount of time up to the age of 21, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick Nix.
During the hearing Monday, David Snyder, the defendant's father, described her as "kind, considerate and caring. I couldn't ask for a better daughter."
Defense attorney Scott Austin asked David Snyder to describe several incidents that impacted his daughter's life, leading up to a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania, where the defendant was living with her mother.
David Snyder said his daughter had lost one friend to suicide and another to murder, as well as her stepmother, over a short period of time.
David Snyder told the judge his daughter was remorseful and understands what she did was wrong.
"She has worked through the various stages of grief, but there is a sadness that is always there," he said.
The fatal crash occurred just after school on Jan. 23 when the Cougar driven by Snyder was traveling north on Route 122 near Beechdale Road. The car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it entered a curve, according to Trooper R.A. Howington with the Virginia State Police. Snyder lost control of the car, which crossed the center lane and struck two southbound vehicles -- a 2008 Toyota Scion, driven by Jason Beavers, 28, of Collinsville and a 2004 Dodge Dakota pickup, driven by Jonathan Hall, 26, of Glade Hill.
After the Cougar struck the two vehicles, it ran off the left side of the roadway and struck a building and two parked cars that were unoccupied, Howington said.
Beavers was not injured, but Hall was transported to the hospital, Howington said. Snyder and two 17-year-old males in the back seat of the Cougar were also transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Snyder will remain on house arrest until another hearing can be set by the court.
Three civil lawsuits have been filed against Snyder in connection with the crash.
Gregory Kinsey has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit on behalf of his son, Anthony Cole Kinsey, 17, who was a back-seat passenger in the car driven by Snyder. Kinsey sustained a traumatic brain injury, along with multiple facial bone fractures, fractures to both legs and lacerations to his spleen and liver, according to Will Davis, Kinsey's attorney.
The estate of Zachary Ian Parsons, who was killed in the Jan. 23 crash, filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against Snyder in February.
Jonathan Hall also filed a $500,000 lawsuit in February against Snyder. The lawsuit alleges that Snyder "operated her vehicle in the plaintiff's lane of travel," striking his pickup "with great force and violence."