A 30-year-old local man will spend 27 years and 9 months behind bars for crashing into a van, killing one and injuring another on Pleasant Valley Road during a police chase in 2014.
James William Dyson Jr. was sentenced Monday by Judge Stephen Mahan to 40 years and 9 months in prison, with 13 years suspended, for second-degree murder, eluding police and DUI, among other charges. He pled guilty for the crimes in April, according to a release from the commonwealth’s attorney.
Around 10 p.m. Jan. 5, 2014, police saw an SUV run a red light on Lynnhaven Parkway, close to the Salem Crossing Shopping Center. An officer pursued Dyson, who then attempted to flee after the officer turned the car’s siren on, according to the news release.
After running another red light, Dyson crashed into the van and was ejected from the vehicle on Pleasant Valley Road. The van rolled over on to the passenger’s side and sideswiped another vehicle. The SUV then caught fire with two passengers inside.
The van’s driver, 59, was killed on impact and one of Dyson’s passengers in the SUV’s backseat, a 29-year-old woman, suffered a collapsed lung, broken right femur and a brain injury that requires ongoing treatment and rehabilitation, according to the news release.
Officers began to administer aid to victims on the scene and Dyson was arrested for driving under influence and refusing to take a breathalyzer test. Later at an area hospital, Dyson’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal driving limit. Passengers with Dyson in the SUV told police they urged him to stop, but he refused because he didn’t have a license and did not want to return to jail, according to the news release.
Dyson’s criminal history dates back to his juvenile years, with traffic and alcohol offenses, and convictions for burglary, grand larceny, hit-and-run and possession of a firearm, among others.