A Chesterfield County woman was indicted Tuesday in connection with a June crash that killed three people standing along state Route 288 in Goochland County.
Claire C. Carr, a 53-year-old attorney who lives in north Chesterfield, was indicted on three charges of involuntary manslaughter.
Carr also faces civil lawsuits seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages filed in Goochland Circuit Court in recent months by the families of each of the three victims. One suit claims Carr was texting at the time of the accident.
Carr was driving a 2016 Audi Q5 south on state Route 288 near West Creek Parkway around 9 p.m. on June 27 when she came upon a 2015 Mercedes CLA 250 that was disabled in the left lane after striking a deer, according to the Virginia State Police.
The driver of the Mercedes, Linli Xu, a 25-year-old Midlothian woman, had gotten out of the vehicle after hitting the animal. A Glen Allen couple — Justin C. Ransone, 41, and Amy Lee Abbott, 45 — stopped in a 2006 Chevrolet Suburban alongside the right shoulder and crossed over the road to help Xu, police said.
Police said Xu, who was five months pregnant, was standing in a grass median with Ransone and Abbott to the left of the disabled Mercedes, when Carr’s vehicle approached. Carr, traveling in the left lane, swerved left to avoid the Mercedes and struck the three victims, police said.
The hazard lights of the Mercedes and the Chevrolet SUV were both flashing on a night when the weather was clear and traffic was light, police said in a search warrant in the case.
D. Michael Caudill, the commonwealth’s attorney for Goochland, declined to comment on the facts of the case on Tuesday.
Family members of the three victims in recent months filed separate lawsuits, each seeking more than $25 million in damages against Carr and her law firm, Kalbaugh, Pfund & Messersmith. The separate lawsuits from each family claim that at the time of the accident, Carr was driving a vehicle that was provided to her by that firm for business use.
The three family’s lawsuits accuse Carr of driving too fast and disregarding the Mercedes’ emergency lights, which the litigation says were visible from at least a half-mile away. The lawsuits accuse Carr of being negligent in how she drove the vehicle and the litigation alleges she caused the three deaths. The lawsuit filed by Xu’s husband also charges that Carr was texting in the seconds before the crash.
In written responses, an attorney for Carr and her law firm denied the allegations against them, and asserted that the defendants are not guilty of any negligence. Jury trials in the civil cases have been scheduled to take place in 2019 and 2020.
Carr could not be reached for comment at her law firm Tuesday. An attorney who represents Carr and KPM in the civil lawsuits did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment on the litigation.
Carr’s initial appearance on the criminal charges is scheduled for Nov. 13.