Man Sentenced for Involuntary Manslaughter

fatal accident

By Linda Cicoira — An Exmore man will serve two years behind bars for involuntary manslaughter and other charges in connection with a traffic crash that caused the death of a teenager last December near Cape Charles.

Calvin Earl Berryhill Jr., 41, was sentenced Monday in Northampton Circuit Court to five years in prison with all but a year suspended for involuntary manslaughter and 12 months in jail for DWI with child. He was given 30 days each with all suspended for three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child. Berryhill was also fined $500 for the manslaughter charge.

The crash was reported at 2:45 a.m., Dec. 24, 2018, at the 23000 block of U.S. Highway 13, south of Parsons Circle. An officer determined that a 2003 Saturn VUE, driven by Berryhill, was going north on the highway, ran off the road, overturned, and struck several trees. 

Trevonne Avant Stith, 17, of Banks Road in Cape Charles, died at the scene. Three other juvenile passengers, who were not identified, were able to escape from the vehicle and run to a nearby residence for help. The children were later taken a Norfolk, Va., hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. Tracy Stith, the victim’s mother, was in the front seat of the vehicle. She was taken by rescue squad to a hospital, also with injuries that were not life-threatening.

“All this is devastating to me,” Berryhill testified at his trial. “It’s a difficult feeling. Lost my stepson. It’s hurtful every day. Thinking about this all the time … I know I made a bad mistake … I miss being around her (Tracy Stith) and her family, Shore life.”

Judge W. Revell Lewis accepted a plea agreement between Berryhill and Commonwealth’s Attorney Beverly Leatherbury. The prosecutor reduced the aggravated manslaughter charge to a lesser manslaughter count in exchange for the guilty pleas so witnesses would not have to testify.

At a preliminary hearing, Tracy Stith testified Berryhill was going faster than 100 mph. “She was adamant that this has been such a tragedy for the whole family including the defendant,” said Leatherbury. “She had forgiven the defendant. She saw the trial as more pain on top of pain.”

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