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Driver faces involuntary manslaughter charge in crash that claimed Marion woman's life

Driver faces involuntary manslaughter charge in crash that claimed Marion woman's life

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Gracie Dimit

Twenty year old Gracie Dimit died in a crash on Itta Bena Road in Emory in July. 

A Hiltons woman is now facing an involuntary manslaughter charge following an investigation into a July 16 vehicle crash that claimed the life of a Marion woman.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Washington County General District Court, 20-year-old Gracie Dimit was riding in the driver's side rear passenger seat of the vehicle when the driver, 21-year-old Lauren Nicole Salyer, lost control of the vehicle in a curve on Itta Bena Road near Emory & Henry College, slid off the roadway and struck a tree.

Dimit was declared dead at the scene and another passenger was airlifted to a hospital. Salyer was taken to the Bristol Regional Medical Center for treatment of a laceration and another passenger escaped the crash with no injuries, according to the complaint.

Salyer told Virginia State Trooper D.J. Hess that she had been driving at 45 mph. Hess noted in the complaint that the VSP Division IV crash team also estimated the vehicle had been traveling at that speed. The speed limit on the gravel road is 35 mph, Hess wrote.

The complaint also makes mention of a video witnesses said was sent out “prior to the crash befor [sic] going down the hill to the curve,” but does not go into further detail.

“The gravel road is known as the 500 to the college students,” Hess wrote. “At the curve the students say they try to drift/fishtail the vehicle.”

Hess said in the complaint that he could smell alcohol on Salyer and she said she had drank a margarita, but did not finish it. Hess wrote that tests showed 0% alcohol in Salyer's blood, but did show trace amounts of THC.

“All statement [sic] state the driver was smoking marijuana prior to the crash at a get together at her apartment,” Hess wrote.

Washington County Commonwealths Attorney Josh Cumbow told the Bristol Herald Courier on Tuesday that he could not discuss evidence in the case, but said Salyer is not accused of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the crash occurred.

Salyer, who was arrested Nov. 12, is scheduled for a hearing in Washington County General District Court on Dec. 7.

Involuntary manslaughter is a class 5 felony and is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and up to $2,500 in fines.

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