Commonwealth v. James William Dyson, Jr.; Drunk Driver without License Flees from Police, Killing another Driver: 27 Years, 9 Months to Serve

Monday, November 21, 2016

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced today that James William Dyson, Jr., 30 years old, formerly of the 3200 block of Red Grove Court in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced for Second Degree Felony Murder, Eluding Police – Endangerment, DUI – Victim Permanently Impaired, Driving on a Suspended License, Refusal of Blood/Breath Test, and Failure to Wear Seatbelt. Circuit Court Judge Stephen C. Mahan sentenced Dyson to 40 years and nine (9) months in prison with 13 years suspended, leaving 27 years and nine (9) months to serve. 

Dyson pled guilty on April 26, 2016.  Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that at about 10 p.m. on January 5, 2014, a Virginia Beach police officer saw an SUV, later determined to be driven by James William Dyson, Jr., drive through a red light on Lynnhaven Parkway near the Salem Crossing Shopping Center.  The officer activated her emergency lights to stop Dyson.  Dyson slowed and then continued to drive away, so the officer activated her siren and air horn.  When Dyson got in front of Salem Middle School, he sped up and fled from police.  From a distance, the officer could see Dyson drive through another red light at Pleasant Valley Road.  As the officer approached the intersection, she saw that Dyson had struck a van.  The SUV driven by Dyson had overturned, and Dyson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, had been ejected.  The SUV caught fire with two passengers inside. 

Multiple officers arrived on scene and began to render aid to the victims.  The driver of the van had gone through the intersection with a green light when he was struck by Dyson.  The impact killed that driver, as the van rolled onto the passenger side, slid across the intersection, and side swiped a stopped vehicle.  The backseat passenger in the vehicle driven by Dyson suffered a collapsed lung, broken right femur, and a closed head injury that requires ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.

Dyson's passengers told police that they told Dyson to stop when the first officer attempted to stop him, but Dyson told them that he did not have a license and was not going back to jail.  Dyson was arrested for DUI and refusal to submit to a breath test. Dyson's blood was later drawn at the hospital and his blood alcohol content through serum was a .16.

Dyson has an extensive criminal history dating back to his years as a juvenile.  He has multiple traffic and alcohol related offenses on his record, as well as convictions for Burglary, Grand Larceny from the Person, Hit and Run, Concealed Weapon, Possession of Firearm by Felon (Non-Violent), and Reckless Driving – Endanger Life/Limb/Property.

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Vivian F. Henderson and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney S. Mario Lorello prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.