ELKINS - A Beverly man pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor, as part of a plea agreement Friday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
Misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of no more than one year in a state penitentiary and up to a $1,000 fine. As part of the plea agreement, the one-year sentence was waived and Bradley Allen Reed, 55, was sentenced to three years of supervised probation.
Reed was facing a felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death, and misdemeanor charges of involuntary manslaughter, petit larceny, unsecured load and unlawful taking of a vehicle. The charges stem from an incident on Nov. 6, 2011, when a brake rotor, being hauled on a trailer pulled by Reed, fell off the trailer and went through the windshield of an oncoming vehicle, killing the passenger, Martha Rose, 63, of Beverly.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shryock began the hearing by providing background information on the charges against Reed.
"Mr. Reed was hauling scrap brake rotors, which were taken from Glotfelty Tires out on the 5 lane in Elkins here, your honor. Those rotors were not secured to the trailer and one of the rotors fell from the vehicle. Another vehicle, coming in the opposite direction, it struck that vehicle, went through the windshield and killed Martha Rose, the passenger in that vehicle...
"The state will recommend that he be sentenced to time served, a year's suspended, credit for time served and three years of supervised probation," Shryock said.
Shryock said both the victim's husband and the arresting officer agreed with the terms of the plea deal.
"Your honor, this plea agreement was entered into following a consultation with the widower in this case, Mr. Roger Rose. He is in agreement with the deal. I spoke with him extensively for the past several months and yesterday as well," Shryock said.
"Mr. Rose, the victim's husband, does not wish to be present for any hearings, your honor. He has moved out of state since this happened and does not desire to be here."
"I have also spoken to the investigating officer, former deputy John A. Burns," Shryock said. "He is also in agreement with this."
On March 28, Reed allegedly entered the property of Burns, and the two had an exchange that resulted in Burns calling 911. According to a statement by Burns, he told Reed that he needed to get off of his property, then Reed "stepped onto the sidewalk directly in front of (Burns') residence" and "continued to yell and harass." Reed's bond was revoked after the incident.
On Friday, Judge Thomas Keadle asked Reed to explain what happened on Nov. 6, 2011.
"It was on a Sunday. I went to Glotfelty's to look for some old tires that was there and prior to that, a year, two or three years before that, I asked them if I could get rotors out of the dumpsters, nothing else, nothing more. I had no problems prior to that, before this incident," Reed said.
"The vehicle I had borrowed was Mr. Jerry Leary's. At that time, he was cutting my ex-wife's tree down, using my truck and trailer, hauling the brush over to my field and I used his car, which the keys were left in it and it was parked at my business in Beverly, at the garage there."
Keadle asked, "You said car. Do you mean car or truck?"
Reed responded, "He was borrowing my truck and trailer, hauling brush over to my field on Georgetown (Road) because the car wouldn't go through the mud, so I used his car and, prior to that, it has been parked at the garage and left for me to use. So I used the vehicle to go down to Glotfelty's.
"So on my way back, I was getting off the 4-lane, entering Beverly, and I came into the turn. I didn't see it happen, I didn't see it (the rotor) come off, but we passed in the opposite direction. I was already past the vehicle, I didn't remember seeing the vehicle I passed, I was in the turn coming into Beverly. I went to the garage, I unloaded the rotors there."
Reed said he found out about the accident in the local newspaper and proceeded to turn himself in to authorities.
"A few days after that, or the next day in the paper, you read and hear about a person that gets killed by a rotor in the area. They gave a description that it was done by a truck, that it done fell off by a rollback, it fell, you know," Reed said. "A few days later, I turned myself in.
"I came down to the Sheriff's Department and I said to them, I said, 'This may have happened, it may have fell off my trailer. I was hauling rotors that day.' I told them that," Reed said. "Andy Burns said 'you did the right thing, you know, your insurance companies will settle up if you give them the information,' and next week later I was called. I had some warrants on me to come down here to the Magistrate Office. I came down, they presented the warrants and charged me with a felony."
"She was injured and died as a result, is that right?" Keadle asked.
Reed responded, "Yes, sir."
Keadle asked Shryock if there were any objections to what Reed said.
"No, your honor, the state's contention would be that Mr. Reed did not have permission to take those rotors from Glotfelty Tires, that would have been one of the issues in the trial," Shryock said. "Other than that, I believe that what he has informed the court is accurate, Judge."
Reed was not fined, but is required to pay court costs.