Matthew Rushin to be released from prison March 29 after partial pardon

Local News

BURKEVILLE, Va. (WAVY) — Matthew Rushin, the 22-year-old former Old Dominion student previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for a 2019 Virginia Beach crash that left a man severely injured, is set to be released later this month.

Rushin, who has autism, received a partial pardon back in November from Gov. Ralph Northam. The release is “contingent upon Mr. Rushin agreeing to a number of strict requirements, including never possessing a firearm, not operating a vehicle, and never contacting the victims or their families.”

The case made national headlines, with many calling for Rushin’s release. The crash happened on First Colonial Road on Jan. 4, 2019, and left four people injured. Danna and George Cusick, who were visiting from New York, were struck head-on. George suffered a severe brain injury and is expected to never fully recover.

Rushin pleaded guilty in the case, after prosecutors said he was suicidal and intentionally meant to cause the crash.

However, Rushin’s mother Lavern said the crash was unintentional and pointed to his autism, saying he was forced to plead guilty because he feared going to trial. She sent that information to Northam in her request for the pardon.

Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle later sent a five-page letter to the governor outlining the case, in an effort to keep Rushin behind bars. He said the pardon request “contained inaccurate facts.”

“I felt it was important to make sure the governor’s office understood all the facts related to this case,” Stolle said. “There are no winners in this case, but what is being lost in the dialogue on social media is that there were innocent victims involved here.”

Danna Cusick released a statement on Tuesday ahead of the upcoming release, in which she pushed back on what she called several untruths in the case. She also said she still believes the crash “was no accident.”

“His life continues, but our George is gone. [Rushin’s actions] will remain with me and our family for eternity,” she wrote.

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