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Bedford man pleads guilty in DUI crash that killed passenger

Bedford man pleads guilty in DUI crash that killed passenger

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A Bedford man has pleaded guilty to aggravated involuntary manslaughter from a March car crash that killed his passenger.

George Wesley Arnt, 37, also pleaded guilty Tuesday in Bedford Circuit Court to a DUI charge from the March 2 crash.

Arnt was driving a 2016 Ford Focus westbound on U.S. 460 that evening, having picked up 38-year-old Randall Mann, according to Bedford Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Wheelock.

Around Timber Ridge Road, Arnt lost control of the car, and it flipped several times before landing in a patch of grass in the middle of the highway, Wheelock said. Witnesses driving on the highway said the car was travelling over 100 mph.

Arnt was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and Mann was discovered dead at the scene of blunt force injuries, Wheelock said. Both were wearing seatbelts.

When Arnt was interviewed by law enforcement after treatment, Wheelock said, he admitted to drinking and then driving the car, but didn’t recall speeding up to 116 mph — the speed recorded on the airbag control module, which investigators recovered from the wreckage. He was arrested in connection with the wreck March 10, a little more than a week afterward.

Blood tests on Arnt showed he had a blood alcohol content of more than .20, Wheelock said, while the legal limit in Virginia is .08.

Wheelock said there’s been no agreement as to his sentence. Aggravated involuntary manslaughter by way of DUI carries a sentence of anywhere from one to 20 years in prison.

“This is a terrible set of facts that led to the unintentional death of Randall Mann, who was a friend of the defendant,” he said.

A call to Arnt’s attorney for comment wasn’t returned as of press time. Arnt is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 6. He’s remained in jail since his arrest.

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