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Trial begins for Narrows police officer charged with involuntary manslaughter in deadly motorcycle crash

The crash happened in July 2020

A police officer charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to a deadly motorcycle crash is on trial in Giles County this week.

GILES COUNTY, Va. – The trial against the New River Valley police officer who was indicted on several charges in connection to a deadly motorcycle crash that happened last summer began Monday.

Chad Stilley, an officer with the Narrows Police Department, was indicted for failure to yield right of way, reckless driving and involuntary manslaughter.

The charges are in connection to a fatal motorcycle crash last summer in Narrows at the intersection of US-460 and 3rd Street. Michael Acord, 28, of Rich Creek was the motorcyclist involved in the crash and died at the scene, according to Virginia State Police.

It took more than five hours for the Commonwealth Attorney and Defense Attorney to sift through upwards of 75 potential jurors. By mid-afternoon, the pool was narrowed down to 14 people, which includes 9 men and 5 women.

Once inside the courtroom, the two attorneys began their opening remarks.

Commonwealth Attorney Chris Rehak, of Radford, addressed the jury first. He described Acord’s condition on the scene as a “pile of bones.”

On the evening of July 24, 2020, Acord was seen driving his motorcycle at 80 mph, according to Pearisburg Police Officer Paul Vincent. He began pursuit which went through Pearisburg, Giles County and Narrows.

Pursuit speeds exceeded 100 mph, according to both attorneys.

Upon entering Narrows city limits, Vincent notified dispatch of the pursuit which is how Stilley was alerted to what was happening, says Rehak.

Dashcam video was shown to the jury of Vincent’s chase with Acord. In the video, you can see Acord slam into Stilley’s unmarked police vehicle.

In the days to come, Rehak says he will prove Stilley’s actions were “brutal, excessive, unnecessary, and grossly disproportionate.” He alleges Stilley broke department policy by not notifying anyone of his intent to intervene and placed the other drivers nearby in danger.

On the contrary, Chris Tuck, Stilley’s attorney, says his client was working to protect the other vehicles in the intersection. He plans to bring a witness to the stand whom he says would’ve been hit by Acord had Stilley not put himself in the intersection.

Stilley is expected to take the stand along with nearly two dozen others.

The judge estimates the trial will last five days.

Tuesday, the Commonwealth Attorney will continue questioning Vincent before calling other witnesses to the stand.

If convicted, Officer Chad Stilley faces up to 11 years behind bars.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.