Man pleads guilty in 2013 Eden wreck that killed passenger

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — A Virginia man pleaded guilty to felony death by a motor vehicle in Rockingham County Superior Court Wednesday morning.

Jason Ray Bates, of Danville, was charged with a DWI in July of 2013 after Tonya Tucker, a passenger, died when she was ejected from the vehicle he was driving.

Rockingham County District Attorney, Craig Blitzer, told the court that Bates and Tucker had just left Summers Bar around 2 a.m. when witnesses said they saw Bates driving “approximately 90 miles per hour” in Eden.  Bates then lost control of the vehicle at the intersection of Stadium Drive and Vaughn Street.

Based on the large gouge marks in the ground officials said the vehicle likely rolled several times before landing beside a home.

Bates sustained injuries to his back and was transported to Moses Cone Hospital where he tested positive for alcohol.

His alcohol concentration at the time of the crash was .15, just shy of twice the legal limit of .08, Blitzer said in court.

Bates received a minimum sentence of 2 ½ years in the State Department of Corrections.