Noah Christopher Smith to be tried in April 2020

Noah Christopher Smith of Unionville is scheduled for a jury trial April 28-30, 2020, in Orange County Circuit Court. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, maiming and drunk driving as a result of a car crash last December on Route 20 in Rhoadesville. 

Noah Christopher Smith of Unionville will face a jury trial in April for his role in a three-vehicle crash that resulted in the death of a Fredericksburg woman and the serious injury of another victim.

During his arraignment on Friday morning in Orange County Circuit Court, Smith, 21, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and maiming, plus two related misdemeanor charges, and requested a jury trial.

Judge Dale Durrer has scheduled a three-day trial for April 28-30, 2020.

The three-vehicle crash occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2018, in the 25400 block of Constitution Highway in Rhoadesville. The collision resulted in the death of Delmys M. De Jesus, 29, of Fredericksburg, and what Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Russel Henderson described as “permanent and significant physical injury” to Argentina Santiago, 54, of Fredericksburg.

In addition to involuntary manslaughter and maiming, Smith is charged with driving while intoxicated (first offense) and possession of alcohol while under the age of 21, both misdemeanors.

According to the Virginia State Police (VSP), Smith was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado south on Route 20 when it crossed the center line and entered the northbound lane. The Chevrolet pickup truck sideswiped a 2013 Toyota Tacoma before hitting head-on and driving over a 2009 Honda Civic, driven by De Jesus, who was heading north.

De Jesus died at the scene of the crash. A 7-year-old girl in De Jesus' car was treated for minor injuries at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

The driver of the Toyota pickup truck, Jose Portillo-Melgar, 23, of Baton Rouge, La., and a 3-year-old boy in the truck were treated for minor injuries at UVA, while the Toyota’s front-seat passenger, Santiago, was flown to UVA for treatment of life-threatening injuries. During Smith’s bond hearing in January, Henderson noted that Santiago suffered a fractured skull in the collision. Smith was not injured in the crash.

All of the adults and the young girl involved in the crash were wearing seat belts, and the young boy was secured in a child-safety seat, according to the VSP.

Wearing a sports jacket and tie, his hair cut short, Smith had several supporters present in the courtroom gallery for his arraignment. A 2016 graduate of Orange County High School, he was granted bond eligibility in January.

The terms of his release on $15,000 secured bond include abiding by pretrial supervision, living with his parents, maintaining or seeking employment, and not using alcohol or drugs. In addition, he is not permitted to leave Virginia or to drive.

In response to a request on Friday from defense attorney Graven Craig of Louisa, Judge Durrer granted Smith permission to obtain a personal identification card from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles so he can purchase tobacco products.

A motions hearing for Smith’s case is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 9:30 a.m.

Hilary Holladay covers education and politics for the Orange County Review. The author of five books, she is currently writing a biography of the poet Adrienne Rich.

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