Commonwealth v. Melissa Ann Hancock; Drunk Driver Kills Man in Wrong-Way Interstate Crash; Sentenced to 15 Years, 12 Months in Prison

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Melissa Ann Hancock, 26 years old, formerly of the 2400 block of Hunters Chase Drive in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Glenn R. Croshaw for Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter, DUI, Failure to Obey Highway/Traffic Sign, and Traveling the Wrong Way on a One-Way Roadway or Highway.  Judge Croshaw sentenced Hancock to twenty (20) years and twelve (12) months in prison with five (5) years suspended, leaving fifteen (15) years and twelve (12) months to serve, plus $3,000 in fines.   This sentence was significantly higher than the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines' recommendation, which called for a sentence no greater than seven (7) years and ten (10) months in prison.

Hancock pled guilty on June 11, 2018. Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that at around 2:00 a.m. on November 4, 2017, Melissa Ann Hancock drove the wrong way on Interstate 264 in Virginia Beach when she struck another vehicle, driven by 29-year-old Daniel Dill, head-on, killing him.  Hancock came from Peabody's Nightclub, located at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and 21st Street.  Surveillance cameras captured Hancock leaving the Peabody's parking lot and driving onto Pacific Avenue and then turning left, westbound onto 21st Street, which is clearly marked as a one-way street for traffic heading east-bond only.  She drove for approximately one mile passing multiple signs indicating "One Way" and "Do Not Enter." She drove onto Interstate 264 east-bound, and hit Dill's car just before reaching the Birdneck Road exit. 

Hancock's crash data recorder showed she was travelling 55-60 miles per hour five seconds before the crash.  Dill was on the way to the oceanfront as the designated driver to pick up his wife who was celebrating her birthday with friends.  Dill was wearing his seatbelt and had no alcohol or drugs in his system.  He was transported to Virginia Beach General Hospital, but did not survive the serious injuries sustained in the crash.

Virginia State Police shortly arrived on scene.  Hancock had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from her person and bloodshot, glassy eyes.  She admitted to drinking mixed drinks at Peabody's approximately an hour before the crash.  After she was informed of the victim's injuries, she responded, "Well, I'm ready to go home." 

Hancock was transported to the hospital to be treated for injuries from the crash.  She was discharged within three hours after medical staff was unable to locate any injuries and Hancock said she wasn't in pain.  Her blood was drawn, and forensic testing and analysis showed that her blood alcohol level was approximately .19 at the time of the crash, which is more than twice the legal limit.

Hancock has prior convictions for Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Emily A. Woodley and Wendy Alexander prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.