Driver charged in fatal crash

Virginia State Police trooper Paul Domingoes filed a reckless driving charge Tuesday against the driver of the vintage sports car that plowed into a group of motorcyclists heading into Sperryville from Shenandoah National Park Nov. 11, killing one of the riders and hospitalizing several others.

James Warren Cox, 63, who was previously reported by state police to be from Alexandria but whose address on court documents is listed as Tappahannock, Va., is due to be arraigned in Rappahannock County General District Court Jan. 8 on the misdemeanor “failure to maintain control” charge.

Theodore Randolph “Randy” Dorsey, a 42-year-old part-time driving instructor from Charlestown, W.Va., died in the crash, which shut down the two-lane highway for almost four hours that Sunday afternoon. Joann Dorsey, 41, a passenger seated behind her husband, was flown to University of Virginia Medical Center, where she and another rider in the group were treated for serious injuries.

Cox was driving a 1967 Austin Healey convertible west at about 1 p.m. when he apparently lost control on the right-hand curve just west of the Sperryville Emporium, crossed the center line and struck at least four motorcycles headed east in a group of seven. One rescue squad veteran estimated the bikers would have had less than a second to react. A state police accident reconstruction team spent the rest of the afternoon at the site.

The original accident report can be found here.

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 539 Articles

Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.

12 Comments

  1. From what I understand, the reason the driver was not charged with manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter is due to the fact that the state would need to prove malice. As far as the state is concerned, this was a tragic accident and nothing more. I’ve had to make sense of this logic due to the fact that I too have lost loved ones to a tragic mistake made by someone driving a car. The driver of the car was charged with failure to yield for turning left in front of oncoming traffic. All of your feelings are valid and understandable from the friends and families on both sides. The more people try to make sense of this situation the more and more frustrating it becomes. Nearly seven years have passed and it still doesn’t make sense or seem fair. All the anger and vitriol will not do anyone involved any good. I know how hard this is to process. No one will ever forget. The only thing you can do is to forgive. It’s the only way to move forward. May the Lord wrap his arms around you and comfort you through these difficult times.

  2. @concern… this is not a hobby for me… the photo only shows THAT an accident occurred… it does NOT explain WHY it occurred!… I presume you think the driver was driving recklessly fast for the corner… that too, is what I assumed would be the case when I drove to the site the first time… after having looked at the site, length of the skid marks, the angle of the skid marks, etc…I am now not so sure about that… my interest in this case is to understand WHAT happened… once that is understood.. then maybe changes can be made to reduce the likelihood of it happening again at that location…

  3. Just my point…I dont speculate about furry rodents in the road or tree limbs thay may have been on the road…have not been to the scene several times with a polaroid camera performing my own investigation…My verdict is you need a new hobby. I will let the facts speak for them self when the professionals finish. The only facts I know for sure is that the picture on the original article speaks volumes

  4. @ concern: I have no idea or expectations about the effect of postings of opinions on this site… certainly the investigators are reviewing their empirical evidence, and will assign charges based on those data…and a judge and or jury will hear evidence presented in court, and arrive at a verdict. The state police do not comment or discuss ongoing investigations, and I think their interest is to try to figure what happened, and then assist the commonwealth attorney in assigning charges. Based on your beliefs about the car driver being at fault, skill and/or behavior, what is your verdict and sentence?

  5. OK mustang…that was an unfair question. Since you were not there and variables only the investigating officers are aware of. Road condition and type of pavement, yaw marks versus skid marks, other factors such as reflex time and shadow skid marks, number of objects struck during the incident and last of all did all four tires lock up all play factors. But I would put money on the fact that nothing said on here to defend anyone will help but only hurt.

  6. Question for Mustang. Since you got all this crash scene stuff to a science. Tell me this. Have you measured the distance of said skid marks? What would you estimate the weight of the vehicle?….lets be modist and say 2k. What rate of speed would you put the car at given that information? I think that if your trying to find excuses for the car driver, you may wanna stop pleading your case on here at this point because you will find that the more you do the more damage your going to create.

  7. what I found curious about the skid marks was not only, where the skid marks start, but more strange was the angle of those skid marks relative to the direction of travel… as if the sports car had just had to make an evasive maneuver to dodge something, which then unbalanced the car, and put the position of the car, very unusually close to the inside of the corner, just before the brakes were locked, which then resulted in a brake induced understeer, which then resulted in the car crossing the centerline at mid corner.. the skid marks, presumably the front tires, do not start simultaneously, which may give a clue as to how the car was laterally loaded at the moment the brakes were applied with such force as to lock the wheels.

    I would be interested to know what transpired in the 2 to 5 seconds before the brakes locked..

  8. WHAT A CROCK OF … Guys showing off and loses control, kills someone and gets hooked up with a slap on the wrist.

  9. See mustang! You and your buddies where right, hope you got all the dents beat out of your buddys car while you were pursueing your investigation. What would the state do with out your help?

  10. Misdemeanor reckless driving? Really? He killed someone
    Why non involuntary manslaughter ???
    Unconfirmed but someone had said that the driver was a retired cop,
    I wonder if that has anything to do with the lessor charger ?

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