By Linda Cicoira — An Exmore man pleaded guilty Monday in Northampton Circuit Court to felony involuntary vehicular manslaughter in connection with the death of a 17-year-old boy near Cape Charles.
Calvin Earl Berryhill Jr., 41, who was living at Madame C J Walker Lane in Exmore when the incident occurred on Dec. 24, 2018, also admitted to DUI and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
“All this is devastating to me,” Berryhill testified. “It’s a difficult feeling. Lost my stepson. It’s hurtful every day. Thinking about this all the time … I know I made a bad mistake … never intentionally. I miss being around her (the boy’s mother, Tracy Shavonn Stith) and her family, Shore life.”
The crash was reported at 2:45 a.m., at the 23000 block of U.S. Highway 13, south of Parsons Circle. An officer determined a 2003 Saturn VUE, driven by Berryhill, was going north on the highway, ran off the road, overturned, and struck several trees.
Trevonne Avant Stith, 17, of Banks Road in Cape Charles, died at the scene. Three other juvenile passengers, who were not identified, were able to escape from the vehicle and run to a nearby residence for help. Those three were later taken to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, in Norfolk, Va., for injuries that were not life-threatening. Tracy Stith was in the front seat of the vehicle. She was taken by rescue squad to Norfolk Sentara Hospital, in Norfolk, also with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Berryhill said he had to move to Norfolk to find work because he lost his job after missing time while in jail awaiting bail.
Judge W. Revell Lewis accepted the plea agreement between Berryhill and Commonwealth’s Attorney Beverly Leatherbury. The prosecutor reduced the aggravated manslaughter charge in exchange for the guilty pleas so witnesses would not have to testify.
At a preliminary hearing, Tracy Stith testified Berryhill was going faster than 100 mph. “She was adamant that this has been such a tragedy for the whole family including the defendant,” said Leatherbury. “She had forgiven the defendant. She saw the trial as more pain on top of pain.”
“Drinking and driving, it’s a painful experience,” said Berryhill. “It’s hurtful every day. I’ll never forget it. There’s nothing I can do to change it.”
Lewis denied a motion to allow Berryhill to remain free on bond. He remanded the defendant to the Eastern Shore Regional Jail to await sentencing set for Sept. 23. A criminal history, work history, and sentencing guidelines were ordered.
Trevonne Stith died instantly from blunt trauma to the head. The three other youngsters who were in the vehicle that night were between 12 and 16 years old.
Berryhill told police he was going 65 to 75 mph and the roads were wet when the crash occurred. Defense lawyer Paul Watson said the speed is unclear. “Mr. Berryhill admitted he was going too fast. The tire did blow out.”
In another case, Larry Wayne “Lil Larry” Edwards Jr., 28, of Bayside Road in Exmore, pleaded guilty to felony burglary and misdemeanor destruction of property that occurred June 24, 2018. Counts of racketeering and conspiracy to racketeer were not prosecuted. Sentencing was set for Sept. 30.