The Richmond Register

October 5, 2012

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in crash that killed passenger

By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer

RICHMOND — The effects of a new medication made Waydell Foster Jr., 26, run a red light Feb. 17 killing his passenger, according to his testimony Thursday in Madison Circuit Court.

Foster entered a guilty plea to several charges and the Commonwealth is recommending a maximum sentence of six years, possibly five if they run concurrently.

Madison Circuit Judge Jeanne Chenault Logue set Foster’s sentencing for Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m. At that time she will decide whether his sentences will run one after the other.

The fatal accident occurred at the Eastern Bypass and Lancaster Avenue intersection where the vehicle driven by Foster collided with another vehicle. He and the other driver were not hurt, but Nicholas King, 33, of Richmond, died two days later from blunt-force head trauma.

Foster originally was charged with first-degree assault, but after King’s death the charge was changed to second-degree manslaughter.

First-degree assault is a Class B felony punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, while second-degree manslaughter is a Class C felony with a sentence range of five to 10 years in prison.

In addition to the manslaughter charge, he also is charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, operating a motor vehicle while impaired and disregarding a traffic-control device.

If he had of been convicted on all of those charges, Foster could have received a maximum sentence of 15 years.

The Commonwealth’s recommendation is that he serve five years on the second-degree manslaughter charge, one year on the wanton endangerment charge, 30 days and the loss of his driver’s license for operating a vehicle while impaired. The charge of disregarding a traffic-control device was dropped.

“I went to the VA hospital,” he said during his Thursday testimony. “I got put on new medication. I didn’t know how that medication would affect me. I went out driving. My attention was focused on the passenger. He had distracted me. I ran a red light, and I hit another vehicle.”

Foster admitted to Logue that he was intoxicated while driving.

At the time of the accident, Foster had been free on a $2,500 unsecured bond after being charged Sept. 2 with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, first-degree possession of a controlled substance (second offense) and third-degree possession of a controlled substance. That case is still pending in Madison District Court.

Foster was being held in the Madison County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. He now is being held without bond as he awaits formal sentencing, according to detention center personnel.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.