Man gets 25 years in fatal Chesapeake crash

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A man who raced off from a traffic stop and slammed into a Chesapeake city truck driver, killing him, has been sentenced to 25 years of active time in prison. 

The sentence was the result of a guilty plea to felony murder by Courtney Horan, in the death nearly a year ago of George Harris.  

Judge Randall Smith sentenced Horan to 40 years but suspended 15 years. The net sentence of 25 was nearly the max under state guidelines, 26 years 4 months.

Chesapeake police tried to stop Horan in the late afternoon of October 3, 2017  because he didn’t have an inspection sticker. Horan says he has had ongoing problems with drug abuse and had been doing cocaine “all that morning.” 

Horan led police on a chase that topped 100 mph.  Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Pamela Stoudt described in court Thursday how Horan was driving so fast that the borrowed Nissan Sentra had already overturned — and was sliding on its side when it struck Harris’s waste management truck. Harris died at the hospital.

Barbara Coleman Harris remembers that evening. “My husband was gone and he won’t be coming home anymore.”

Horan described in court how he had been in various drug treatment programs, and how he had abused cocaine, heroin and opiates over the years.

His wife testified that Horan had been clean from June to August of 2017. Then he relapsed with cocaine, and felt so guilty and ashamed that he tried to hang himself in their shed.

Less than two months later, police attempted to stop him for the missing sticker. Moments later he crashed into Harris’s truck on Johnston Road as Harris was running his route.

Harris’s widow is proud of her husband of 7 years, who had just been promoted at the city yard.

“They even named the street after him by his job.  We’ll remember him with lots of love.”

“Even though he was my brother in law he was one of my best friends,” said Terrance Jenkins, Harris’s brother-in-law. “He’d do anything for you.”

Horan did make a statement just prior to sentencing. He told the Harrises,”sorry is not the right word to say when you’ve taken a man’s life.” Horan says you say sorry when you inadvertently bump into them in the grocery store. They say they appreciate his sense of remorse. 

“Right now at least we have some closure, and now I just have to find time for forgiveness,” Coleman Harris said.

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