A Loudoun grand jury today issued a five-count indictment against the driver of the food truck involved in the Sept. 8 that killed an Ashburn woman and seriously injured three of her family members.
The charges against Tony Steven Dane come after a two-month investigation of the crash. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, driving without an operator’s license (repeat offence), driving without insurance and failure to get the vehicle inspected. The involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Dane is scheduled in Circuit Court on Tuesday morning for arraignment and case scheduling.
According to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened around 4:50 p.m. Sept. 8 when Dane, the driver of a 2000 Thomas bus, which had been converted into the Dane’s Great American Hamburger food truck, was traveling east on Watson Road and ran the stop sign at the Evergreen Mills Road intersection. The bus hit a 2014 Audi station wagon traveling northbound on Evergreen Mills Road.
The driver of the Audi, 39-year-old Erin T. Kaplan, died at the scene. An adult passenger and Kaplan’s three children were airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital.
The crash resulted in an outpouring of support for the Kaplan family, with a GoFundMe page raising more than $137,000 in donations. Also, county leaders have pressed for safety improvements on Evergreen Mills Road, including the recent installation of improved driver alert devices at the Watson Road intersection. County deputies also have increased speed patrols in the corridors in the weeks since the crash.
The charges resulted from evidence presented by county prosecutors during a closed grand jury session Monday morning. Because it was a direct indictment, there was no preliminary hearing in District Court and little additional information about the case has been made public.
According to information submitted in a warrant during the investigation, Dane told investigators the food truck’s brakes failed. Prior to the crash, the food truck narrowly missed hitting students who were getting off a school bus on Watson Road.