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Man sentenced to 4 years in prison in deadly Southside hit-and-run

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RICHMOND, Va. — A Richmond man has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday in a deadly hit-and-run on Richmond’s Southside in February.

John B. Spence, 65, plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felony hit-and-run charges after striking and killing 55-year-old Christopher A. Griffin.

The incident occurred on the 1900 block of Semmes Avenue on Feb. 20 at 12:30 p.m. Officials said Griffin was attempting to cross Semmes Avenue southbound near the intersection.

Griffin suffered from head trauma, according to witnesses.

During court proceedings prosecutors said Spence had been to a restaurant and had three vodka and cranberry’s before then driving to O’Toole’s and having a fourth drink.

Spence then then left O’Toole’s around 12:15 p.m. and was on his way home in his convertible with the top down when he struck Griffin, officials said.

John B. Spence

John B. Spence

The impact of the incident, left Spence’s driver’s side window shattered, but prosecutors said he continued driving and then to his home where he had a glass of white wine.

Spence later called police and said he thought he had hit somebody.

Police noticed that the wine glass was half full and that his housemate told police that he poured a full glass of wine.

When Spence’s blood was drawn several hours later it was a .27BAC

Victim’s family was not in town but were satisfied with the plea according to the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in the case

Spence received 10 years for the involuntary manslaughter charge, but with six years were suspended.

For the hit-and-run charge, Spence was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. All 10 years were suspended.

As a result, Spence was sentenced to four years in prison with credit for time served.

Additionally, the judge sealed the surveillance video showing the accident. Spence was also facing a DWI Charge, but it was set aside.

The victim’s family was not in town for the sentencing, but the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney say they were satisfied with the plea deal.

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