HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – A Henrico County man accused of leading police on a vehicle pursuit before a West End crash that killed two people, is now being charged with felony murder.
Lewis Irvin Price was initially charged with eluding and hit and run in connection to the February 8 police pursuit and fatal crash.
Price has since been indicted by the grand jury for two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony murder in the deaths of Debra Renee Eckhart, 25, and Rena Chhay, 27.
The incident started when a Henrico Police officer initiated a traffic stop on a Honda Accord driven by Price on Hungary Road west of Staples Mill Road.
After failing to stop for officers, police say Price accelerated westbound on Hungary Road where he struck a Hyundai SUV that was attempting to turn left onto eastbound Hungary Road from southbound N. Lakefront Drive.
After the crash, police say Price fled on foot before being apprehended a short time later.
The driver of the Hyundai was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Two occupants in the Honda, identified as Debra Renee Eckhart and Rena Chhay, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Homeowner: ‘Police had dogs here’
Nancy Anderson is still shocked about the scene that unfolded in front of her home in the aftermath of the crash.
“I thought, ‘Oh my word,'” Anderson recounted. “We saw the young man fleeing and all of the sudden I’m locking doors, and the police had the dogs back here.”
Anderson, who has lived in her home for 30 years, said she never expected anything like this would happen.
“I feel sorry for the family,” Anderson said. “I just can’t imagine getting a knock on my door and saying your son and your daughter is deceased.”
Family mourns loved one killed in West End crash
Chhay and Eckhart were friends from high school, Chhay’s family told CBS 6 News.
Chhay’s brother and sister said their family was devastated by the sudden loss.
“A whole lot of questions to answers that we will probably never get,” Ratha Chhay said.
“We believe we’re still here, it’s just our vessels that pass,” Ratha said. “We light incense and stuff to kind of light the way.”
The family remembered Rena as someone who helped many people over the years.
“He’s helped a whole lot of people from my parents to his friends,” Ratha said. “He loved working on cars and he’s worked on everybody’s car that’s out there in the yard.”