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Driver admits guilt

SUFFOLK, VA – A little over nine months after he caused a wreck that claimed the lives of two Colerain women, a Virginia man has admitted guilt in that fatal crash.

On Friday, Wesley Aaron Johns, 26, of Windsor, VA, pled guilty to charges lodged against him following a Feb. 10 crash on Whaleyville Boulevard (US 13) that killed mother and daughter: Bernice Pong Brooks, 84, and 60-year-old Teresa Brooks Brown.

Wesley A. Johns

Wesley A. Johns

Johns pled guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of possession of heroin, one count of possessing a firearm with drugs, and one count of texting while driving. Judge L. Wayne Farmer accepted the plea in Suffolk Circuit Court.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney George Bruch said Johns had the heroin and firearm in his vehicle at the time of the crash.

According to evidence from his phone, Johns opened a text message at 33 seconds past 8:04 a.m. that Tuesday (Feb. 10), Bruch said. The crash was reported at 8:05 after Johns drifted into the lane of oncoming traffic.

His phone was found embedded in the dashboard directly in front of the driver’s seat, Bruch added.

The accident occurred just north of the state line. There, Brown was operating a PT Cruiser northbound on US 13. She was driving her mother (Brooks) to a medical appointment in Norfolk, VA. Johns was southbound, driving a minivan, when his vehicle crossed the centerline and struck Brown’s Cruiser head-on.

Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.

Following an investigation by the Suffolk Police Department, Johns was determined as the at-fault driver in the fatal accident. The charges were lodged against him following a review of the case by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. At the crash scene, police said they found heroin, drug paraphernalia, a gun and a homemade machete inside Johns minivan.

Sentencing is set for March 7 where Johns could face up to 25 years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines for his guilty pleas.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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