Driver accused of killing Hanover firefighter could be charged with involuntary manslaughter

Local News
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Prosecutors in Hanover County have dropped misdemeanor charges against the truck driver accused of causing a crash that killed Hanover firefighter Lt. Brad Clark.

In court on Thursday, prosecutors nolle prossed reckless driving and defective brake charges against Lester LaBarge.

But Lester Labarge isn’t free and clear.

The move is part of a plan to upgrade charges against him for last October’s deadly crash.

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephen Royalty told the judge they are seeking two direct indictments.

The case is going to a grand jury on Tuesday.

Sources tell 8News prosecutors hope to indict the Maryland man for involuntary manslaughter. That brings the threat of jail time.

He previously faced misdemeanors of reckless driving and defective brakes.

Labarge didn’t answer questions as he left the Hanover courthouse on Thursday afternoon.

Virginia State Police say Labarge was behind the wheel of his big rig when it slammed into a fire truck on I-295. It happened in the midst of Tropical Storm Michael.

According to sources, Labarge insists the bad weather caused his truck to collide with the fire engine.

The impact killed Clark and seriously hurt two other firefighters.

The victims families along with the Hanover community are still struggling to heal from the tragedy.

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