Man in 2014 police chase, deadly crash sentenced to 27 years in prison

Photo Courtesy: Virginia Beach Police
Photo Courtesy: Virginia Beach Police

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach man convicted in a 2014 police chase and deadly crash was sentenced Monday.

A judge sentenced 30-year-old James William Dyson, Jr. to 40 years and nine months in prison with 13 years suspended, leaving 27 years and nine months to serve.

Dyson pleaded guilty on April 26 to second-degree murder, eluding police — endangerment, DUI — victim permanently impaired, driving on a suspended license, refusal of blood/breath test and failure to wear a seat belt.

Prosecutors say at about 10 p.m. on January 5, 2014, a Virginia Beach police officer saw an SUV, later determined to be driven by Dyson, drive through a red light on Lynnhaven Parkway near the Salem Crossing Shopping Center. The officer turned on her emergency lights to pull Dyson over. He slowed down, and then continued to drive away, so the officer turned on her siren and air horn. When Dyson drove in front of Salem Middle School, he sped up and again fled from police, according to prosecutors. From a distance, the officer saw Dyson again drive through a red light at Pleasant Valley Road. As the officer approached the intersection, she saw Dyson had hit a van. The SUV Dyson was driving had overturned and Dyson, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, was ejected. The SUV caught fire with two passengers inside.

Multiple officers arrived to the scene and tried to help the victims. The driver of the van had gone through the intersection with a green light when he was hit by Dyson. Prosecutors say the impact killed that driver. The van rolled onto the passenger side, slid across the intersection and side swiped a stopped vehicle. The backseat passenger in the SUV Dyson was driving suffered a collapsed lung, broken right femur, and a closed head injury that requires ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.

Dyson’s passengers told police they tried to get Dyson to stop when the first officer tried pulling him over, but Dyson told them he didn’t have a license and wasn’t going back to jail. He was arrested for DUI and refusal to submit to a breath test. His blood was later drawn at the hospital and his blood alcohol content through serum was a .16.

Dyson has an extensive criminal history, dating back to his juvenile years. He has multiple traffic and alcohol-related offenses on his record, as well as convictions for burglary, grand larceny from a person, hit and run, concealed weapon, possession of firearm by non-violent felon and reckless driving -– endanger life/limb/property.