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Conrad v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia
521 S.E.2d 321 (1999)


Facts

When Christopher Conrad (defendant) left a friend’s house to return to his home, he had been awake for 22 hours. Conrad testified that he had not felt sleepy when he left his friend’s house and that it had not occurred to him that he might fall asleep on the drive home. Conrad had been driving for approximately 20 minutes, and was four and a half miles from his house, when he began to feel sleepy. Conrad testified that, at this point, he was close to falling asleep. About one and a half miles from Conrad’s home, Conrad fell asleep at the wheel. His car veered off the road, striking and killing a jogger. The jogger had been running 18 inches from the edge of the pavement when she was struck. Conrad told the officer at the scene that he had caught himself dozing off four or five times prior to hitting the jogger. Conrad testified that he did not want to stop driving because he was only five minutes from his home. A jury convicted Conrad of involuntary manslaughter. Conrad appealed the decision, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he acted in a criminally negligent manner. The Court of Appeals of Virginia heard the appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fitzpatrick, C.J.)

Dissent (Elder, J.)

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