Amir Shabazz Banks, 16, of Clarke County was arraigned on Friday in Clarke County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in connection with a pickup truck crash that took the life of Aaron Benjamin Shirley, 17, a rising Clarke County High School senior.
Banks’s trial is scheduled for October 27, 2010.
Banks was arraigned in closed session on charges of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter, driving under the influence, and driving in violation of passenger restrictions.
According to state code, the restricted driving charge was filed because drivers under 18 are limited in the number of passengers they can transport.
The arraignment stems from a June 18 accident in which Shirley was riding in the bed of a 1999 Dodge pickup truck. The vehicle, allegedly being driven by Banks, ran off Summit Point Road (Va. 611) north of Berryville in Clarke County striking a tree and overturning.
Shirley was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead shortly afterward at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Virginia.
Banks and four juvenile passengers riding in the cab of the vehicle, allegedly, were travelling from a party where alcohol had been available. Banks and the other passengers in the vehicle received non-life-threatening injuries from the accident.
An alcohol breath test administered to Banks by Virginia State Police shortly after the crash registered a 0.07 alcohol reading according to a June 29th search warrant filed in Frederick County Circuit Court.
The legal blood alcohol limit for anyone under the age of 21 is 0.02.
A passenger in the car is alleged to have told Virginia State Police officer Kevin Myers, the trooper investigating the case, that the driver of the vehicle had consumed alcohol twenty minutes before the accident according to the affidavit.
Myers also stated in the affidavit that a subsequent search of a BlackBerry cell phone device revealed a discussion of possible drug use before the crash.
Authorities are still investigating how Banks obtained the alcohol. In a recent statement, Suzanne “Suni” Perka said that the incident is still under investigation.
Aaron Shirley was the son of Reginald and Katherine Shirley.
On Friday Banks was also charged in another alcohol-related incident that occurred Tuesday night at the Clarke County Fair.
On Tuesday evening Clarke County Sheriff deputies responded to a report of an intoxicated juvenile resulting in Banks detention and then release to a relative. The following morning a Juvenile Intake Officer placed Banks in custody at Winchester’s Juvenile Detention Center.
Friday’s hearing added “drunk in public” and “underage possession of alcohol” to the litany of charges that Banks will face at the October trial.
Banks’s name was released by Judge Ronald Napier in a statement after the hearing.
No decision has been made as to whether Banks’s trial will be public.