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DA Seeks Felony Charges Against Trucker in I-85 Deaths

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DURHAM — A Virginia truck driver involved in one ofthe state's deadliest traffic collisions now faces felony charges andpossible prison time.

A Durham County grand jury indicted Essau Dixon on eight counts offelony involuntary manslaughter, each of which carries a sentence of up to20 months in prison. Dixon's tractor trailer rammed into several cars thathad slowed down in a construction zone Aug. 23 on Interstate 85 in DurhamCounty.

Until Monday, Dixon had only faced eight counts of misdemeanor death bymotor vehicle.

Seven of the eight victims were patients of John Umstead Hospital.They were in a the van returning to the hospital when Dixon's tractortrailer ran into the van on Interstate 85 north of Durham.

Dixon told investigators that his last memory beforethe crash was of a white van cutting off his truck.

Dixon's attorney,Tom Loflin, has said his client has suffered from unfair andinaccurate reporting.

Loflin says the truck'son-board computer showed that Dixon was traveling 56mph just before the accident.

Mildred Davis' son, Kenneth Davis, who worked for Capitol BroadcastingCo., died eight days after theaccident.She says she feels the driver did something wrong and should be heldresponsible.

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