Driver pleads guilty to charges connected to fatal crash in Roanoke County

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 10:46 AM EDT
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A Roanoke man has pleaded and been found guilty on several charges connected to the death of a man in a crash in 2019.

Kenneth Inger was in Roanoke County Circuit Court Monday, September 13, 2021, pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter, DUI and two counts of hit-and-run. He pleaded no contest to felony murder for the death of Thomas “Pete” Orr. The murder charge had replaced an original charge of involuntary manslaughter.

“Causing that death in the commission of felonies is felony murder,” explained Roanoke County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Holohan. “We were very confident in the strength of our evidence and the strength of our case against him, and I think is indicative of the fact that he chose to plead guilty rather than go to a trial.”

Inger admitted to police he smoked marijuana before being involved in the crash on Brambleton Avenue. In addition to smoking marijuana, police said he had been driving “at a high rate of speed” before the crash.

“We think this plea demonstrated Mr. Inger’s remorsefulness and acceptance of responsibility in this case,” said Tony Anderson, Inger’s attorney.

The commonwealth’s attorney presented evidence to the court that would have been shown to the jury had a trial taken place, including surveillance video of Inger’s vehicle, and photos from the crash.

Judge James R. Swanson found the evidence sufficient to conclude Inger’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sentencing is set for January 25, 2022, but the county is hoping for a sooner date to finally bring closure to Orr’s family members, who were also present in the courtroom Monday.

“To call it torturous would be an understatement,” says Holohan. “They’ve been dealing with this ever since September of 2019 and its been a long time coming to try to bring this phase of what they’ve been dealing with to an end.”

The attorney for Orr’s family released the following statement to WDBJ7.

“Pete Orr was a force of kindness, strength, and love. He loved his wife and children above all, and he brought kindness to everyone he met. Today is an important step toward responsibility for this family’s devastating and tragic loss.”

John E. Lichtenstein, Counsel to Mary Beth Orr and the Orr family

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