Nearly three years after a motorcycle rider died in a wreck on U.S. 220, a Martinsville man is going on trial on charges he caused that death.
Howard Shawn Reynolds, 34, of 1160 Yorkshire Road in Martinsville was indicted by a grand jury on March 18 with hit and run resulting in death in the hit-and-run death of Jeffery Curtis Hairston in September 2016.
He is scheduled to face those charges on Oct. 29 in Henry County Circuit Court
The Virginia State Police reported that at 11:38 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2016, a 2006 Suzuki motorcycle was heading north on U.S. 220 at the U.S. 58 bypass when it was hit by an unknown vehicle. The driver of the motorcycle – Hairston – was thrown into the road and then was hit by a 2007 Mazda CX-7 that also was heading north on U.S. 220.
Hairston, 58, of Martinsville, was wearing a helmet and died at the scene.
VSP Sgt. Rick Garletts said at the time that investigators believed the vehicle that struck the motorcyclist was a white sedan that would be missing part of the left front bumper cover on the driver’s side.
“The case took some time to investigate as many items of evidence [were] sent to the Department of Forensic Science for analysis, and that took quite a while,” Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Nester wrote in an email Monday. “Other than this, since this is a pending case that is set for a trial by jury, I am unable to comment further as to the facts in this case.”
Court documents cite a variety of tests that include pieces of a 2012 Chevrolet Impala, items found at the site of the collision and Hairston’s body, including his DNA.
The documents include no details about how the Impala was identified and located, nor do they specify the vehicle was owned by Reynolds.
Nester wouldn’t answer those questions, and Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said, “We wouldn’t comment beyond what’s in the warrant. This is a case that will go to court.”
What is known from court documents is that evidence submitted to the Department of Forensic Science for analysis included plastic grill fragments and white plastic fragment from the scene; plastic grill fragments, white plastic bumper cover and windshield section from a 2012 Chevrolet Impala; and clothing from Hairston.
Seven of 10 glass particles recovered from debris in Hairston’s clothing were consistent with windshield glass from the 2012 Chevrolet Impala, and a white paint particle recovered from Hairston’s clothing was consistent with white paint from the white plastic bumper cover from the Impala, the Department of Forensic Science’s certificate of analysis states.
That department also tried to compare the windshield section from the Impala with DNA information from Hairston.
“The indication of blood is based on physical characteristics innate, but not unique to the body fluid tested. Therefore, testing for blood is not confirmatory,” a certificate of analysis states.
As for the windshield section from the Impala, the certificate of analysis states: “No blood was observed. DNA types of no value were developed from a combined sample from four areas of the windshield. Due to the limited information obtained, these types are not suitable for comparison.”
Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.