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Hall pleads guilty in 2011 fatal wreck

POSTED: March 27, 2014 7:28 p.m.
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Wade Hall

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An Effingham County man accused in the April 2011 vehicular homicide of his passenger pled guilty Thursday.

Wade Hall, 21, will spend 10 years in prison and 10 years on probation for the April 18, 2011, accident that killed Josh Stafford. Hall’s trial for the 14 charges stemming from the wreck at Midland and Courthouse roads was set to start April 1. A jury was selected last week.

But the oft-delayed trial won’t take place, after Hall entered his plea Thursday morning. He had been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence (less safe), DUI under 21, speeding, reckless driving, following too closely and weaving over the roadway.

He could have faced a maximum of 65 years in prison had he been convicted.

“I think it was a good resolution,” said Assistant District Attorney Brian Deal. “The victims seems satisfied with the outcome as well.”

Hall pled guilty to one count of vehicular homicide and three counts of serious injury by vehicle.

Authorities said Hall was driving a Honda Civic, with Stafford in the passenger seat, when he collided with an Acura sedan being driven by Rebecca Hart. Hart’s three children were in the car at the time and the injuries sustained in the wreck included a broken leg and foot, a broken nose, compressed veterbrae and one of the children also lost a portion of her small intestine.

Georgia State Patrol investigators said Hall’s speed reached 95 mph at one point.

Hall also was hurt in the wreck and was airlifted to Memorial University Health Center. Judge John R. Turner denied the defense’s motion last month to block blood evidence taken from Hall at the hospital. The defense contended that the sample was no longer available and that warrant used to take the blood was not based on probable cause. Law enforcement personnel found a beer can, rolling papers and what they believed to be marijuana.

Hall was indicted initially March 20, 2012, and jury selection was first set for Jan. 29, 2013. He was re-indicted Jan. 24, 2013, and Judge William Woodrum recused himself from the case in April 2013. The case was re-assigned to Judge Turner.

For the speeding, reckless driving, following too closely and weaving charges, Hall will serve 12 months concurrently to the vehicular homicide sentence.

Paul Floeckher contributed to this report.

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