DWI HIT PARADE / Virginia State Police report Dale Donnells charged DUI and aggravated involuntary manslaughter in fatal crash that killed Thomas Estep; has long DUI record in Maryland

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Maryland State Police sobriety checkpoint. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

DWI HIT PARADE / Virginia State Police report Dale Donnells charged DUI and aggravated involuntary manslaughter in fatal crash that killed Thomas Estep; has long DUI record in Maryland

Dale Donnells charged with DUI homicide in Russell County Va by Virginia State Police

RUSSELL COUNTY, VA. – A Maryland man with a long record of DUI arrests and convictions who never served any serious jail time for those DUI convictions opened 2017 with a kill in rural Russell County, Va.

Virginia State Police Senior Trooper J.A. Minton is investigating the two-vehicle crash in Russell County which occurred Jan. 1, 2017, at 2:22 a.m., on Route 19 less than a mile south of Route 58.

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A 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was traveling south in the northbound lanes of Route 19 and struck head-on a northbound 2007 Pontiac G5.

The driver of the Pontiac, Thomas C. Estep, 21, of Norton, Va., died at the scene. He was wearing a seatbelt.

Thomas Estep on tour with Kaitlyn Baker Band in Indiana. Photo from Facebook

The driver of the Chevrolet, Dale Morgan Donnells, 41, of 8611 Cunningham Drive, Berwyn Heights, Md., was transported to Russell County Medical Center for the treatment of minor injuries. Upon his release, state police took him into custody and, at the direction of the Russell County Commonwealth’s Attorney, charged Donnells with DUI and aggravated involuntary manslaughter.

In this video, Estep, right, plays with Kaitlyn Baker at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Thomas Estep was a member of the Kaitlyn Baker Band and had recently played in a fundraiser for victims of the wildfires at Gatlinburg, Tenn.  MORE

The Virginia State Police Wytheville Division Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene to assist with the crash investigation, which remains ongoing at this time.

Police say that Route 19 was re-opened by 7:45 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017.

Prince George’s County, Md., Police Officer Battle arrested Donnells on Oct. 13, 2016, at 4:39 am on Glendale Blvd. at Daisy Lane, near where Donnells maintains another address in Maryland, at 12330 Daisy Lane

Prince George’s County, Md., Police Officer Battle arrested Donnells on Oct. 13, 2016, at 4:39 am on Glendale Blvd. at Daisy Lane, near where Donnells maintains another address in Maryland, at 12330 Daisy Lane. Donnells was charged with DUI while operating a 2001 Mazda. In that arrest, he was also charged with failing to control his speed to avoid a wreck.

In yet another DUI arrest, on Sept. 22, 1999, Donnells appealed in Prince Georges Circuit Court in Maryland a DUI conviction. On Oct. 8, 1999, Donnells failed to appear in court. On Feb. 3, 2000, Donnells was recorded as being in jail and on May 16, 2000, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Martha G. Kavanaugh sentenced Donnells to one year in jail with eight months and eight days suspended and supervised probation for one year. Debra Dwyer of Rockville was the attorney for Donnells.  A charge violation of probation was brought on Aug. 8, 2002, which Judge S. Michael Pincus dismissed. Judge Pincus had earlier sent Donnells to the Silver Spring, Md., Outpatient Treatment Program and to abide by all terms and conditions of probation as set forth in the probation contract. Court records show the case was closed satisfactorily on Aug. 14, 2002.

Donnells formerly lived on Chisolm Landing Way in North Potomac in Montgomery County where he was charged in burglary, theft and drug arrests in that county in Maryland near Washington, D.C. 

Two warrants for theft over $300 against Donnells were served on March 28, 1994, and in a plea bargain with the Montgomery County, Md. States Attorney on May 19, 1994, the charge was dropped with no fine and no time. Attorney Barry H. Helfand represented Donnells. Five criminal charges including malicious property destruction, battery, rogue and vagabond, and theft over $300 were dropped as part of the pleas on associated charges in the District Court of Montgomery County, Md., on the same date with Donnells pleading guilty to theft over $300. In the plea deal, Donnells was sentenced to eighteen months in jail with one year suspended and credit given for time served prior to his trial of 43 days. Donnells was put on probation until Sept. 7, 1996.

A charge of possession of drug paraphernalia was placed by Montgomery County Police Officer B. Trahan on Oct. 19, 1998, and in a plea deal with the Montgomery County States Attorney in District Court on May 17, 1999, Donnells entered a guilty plea and was fined $500 with $250 of the fine suspended and no time in jail.

Thomas Estep plays the guitar for Kaitlyn Baker at KFAV, Warrenton, MO. Thomas plays at 6.30 point in the interview.

Kaitlyn Baker performs “The Trouble Is You” and chats with Sheena Dickey on 97.5 KNMO Double K Country in Nevada, Missouri. Song written by Kaitlyn Baker and Larry Wayne Clark. Guitar: Thomas Estep. Original studio recording available on Kaitlyn’s EP “Coal Train” on iTunes and Amazon.

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