|Birth: ||Jun. 12, 1989|
|Death: ||Nov. 2, 2007|
Joshua Halstead, an 18-year-old from Warner, Virginia (Middlesex County, Virginia) was hit and killed by a car outside Urbanna on November 2, 2007 in the midst of the town's popular oyster festival.
Joshua was walking home along Route 602 just east of route 684 at about 10 p.m. with his little brother and a friend when a Nissan Versa struck Josh from behind, police said. Joshua died at the scene, and the driver fled. The car was found abandoned near the scene shortly after the crash.
The driver from Churchview, Virginia, turned herself into police 12+ hours later. On July 28, 2008, the driver was convicted of felony hit and run. A Circuit Judge for Middlesex County sentenced her to 10 years in prison, but suspended all but 18 months of it. He also ordered her to pay $3,156.61 in investigation and towing costs.
The Urbanna Oyster Festival, in its 50th year, drew about 75,000 people to the rural community on the Rappahannock River, according to the event's Web site.
Joshua graduated last spring as an honor student and had been accepted to Old Dominion University where he planned to begin classes on January 14, 2008. "He was really loved, and he's got a lot of friends," Donna said of her oldest son. "He had many, many talents."
Halstead's death spread quickly at Middlesex High School, where he'd been a popular and respected student, his former principal said. "I can't remember anybody ever — student or teacher — having anything bad to say about Josh," Middlesex High Principal Chris Valdrighi said. "He was just a good kid to have in the building."
June 9, 2010
Local NAACP introduces new achievement award
The Joshua Halstead Award is a new achievement award that will be presented by the Middlesex NAACP to the most improved student at St. Clare Walker Middle School. The improvement period spans grades 6-8.
The student will receive the Joshua Halstead plaque plus a gift card to help purchase school supplies for his or her freshman year at Middlesex High School. This award has been approved by the Middlesex County School Board.
Joshua Halstead was a 2007 honor graduate of Middlesex High School who was scheduled to attend Old Dominion University in January 2008. However on November 2, 2007 he was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking home from the Urbanna Oyster Festival.
Joshua had positive impact on many at Middlesex High School. Rev. George Morris, who was his mentor and also gave his eulogy, reflected that Joshua would want to be remembered as someone who worked hard to reach his goals, which was important to him. "Let your light shine" was Joshua's motto.
"The NAACP recognizes that there are some students who may struggle with their grades in the beginning but keep working hard to improve," said a local NAACP spokesperson. "They may not end up with a 4.0 GPA, but they should be acknowledged for their effort and improvement and continue to achieve their goals."
Donna Dunlevy (Joshua's mother), Rev. George Morris, and Mark Lomax (Middlesex NAACP president) will take part in the award ceremony.
A walk home, call to mom — then tragedy
A Middlesex County family tries to cope when their 18-year-old son is killed in a hit-and-run.
By NICOLAS ZIMMERMAN
November 10, 2007
MIDDLESEX — Joshua Halstead called his mother around 10 p.m. to tell her he was walking home with his little brother and a friend from the Urbanna Oyster Festival last Friday.
"He was on his way home and he'd had a good time," Donna Dunlevy, of Warner in Middlesex County, said Friday. The 18-year-old told her "everything was fine, he'd see me in a few minutes and he loved me."
Halstead, a former Middlesex High School honor student who planned to start college in January, was hit by a car while he walked along Route 602. His 10-year-old brother, Zachary, and the friend witnessed the accident.
Shawna Lindy, 27, of Church View, turned herself in to police Saturday morning and is charged with reckless driving and felony hit-and-run.
"He was really loved, and he's got a lot of friends," Dunlevy said of her oldest son. "He had many, many talents."
Halstead graduated last spring and h
ad been accepted to Old Dominion University, where he planned to begin classes in the winter. He played basketball, listened to hip-hop and R&B, and showed an artistic flair by cutting designs into his friends' hair.
Dunlevy, a certified nursing assistant, at first wasn't sure how she would pay for the funeral.
Then her small, tightknit community stepped in. Bristow-Faulkner Funeral Home handled the arrangements for free, and the Lebanon Worship Center in Saluda offered to host the service, also for free. The Rev. George Morris, who coached Halstead in basketball and mentored him through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, will deliver the eulogy at today's service.
"Everyone has been wonderful," she said. "I'm a single parent, and this is not an expense I had planned on."
News of Halstead's death spread quickly at Middlesex High School, where he'd been a popular and respected student, his former principal said.
"I can't remember anybody ever — student or teacher — having anything bad to say about Josh," Middlesex High Principal Chris Valdrighi said. "He was just a good kid to have in the building."
Valdrighi recalled how Halstead, normally reserved, stunned the student body last spring with a show-stopping performance as the wizard in the school Spanish department's production of "The Wizard of Oz."
Shawn Morton, Dunlevy's boyfriend, said he helped raise Halstead since the boy was 9. Morton was in his early 30s when Halstead convinced him to earn his GED. "Algebra and numbers always gave me a hard time, and Josh helped me with that," he said. "He was like, 'You want me to do this and that in school. Well, how about yourself?' He was my inspiration to re-start my education."
The only comfort Dunlevy said she gets now is when she is near her son's ashes, which she keeps in his bedroom.
"There's nothing that really makes me feel better, but I get a little solace when I sit with him," she said. "His smile and his eyes will be forever imprinted on my brain."
Halstead's funeral will be at 4 p.m. today at Lebanon Worship Center in Saluda.
Hit-and-run driver gets 10-year sentence
by Tom Chillemi
August 1, 2008
Middlesex Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Hurd portrayed Shawna Marie Lindy as being "morally depleted" as he argued for the maximum sentence allowable for failing to stop at the accident where Joshua M. Halstead died on November 2 after he was struck by an SUV Lindy was driving.
"What Shawna Lindy did after the crash was directly contrary to the core basic human values that we are based upon," Hurd told Circuit Court Judge William T. Shaw III.
Josh Halstead, 18, was struck from behind on November 2 about 10 p.m. as he was walking with his 10-year-old brother and a friend on the westbound shoulder of Route 602, in the
same direction as traffic. They were leaving the Urbanna Oyster Festival and were about a half mile from the town limits.
Lindy did not stop after her SUV struck Halstead, and her damaged vehicle was located about two hours later. She turned herself into police the next day.
On Monday, July 28, Judge Shaw sentenced Lindy to 10 years in prison and suspended all but 18 months with conditions.
Ten years is the maximum allowable sentence for felony hit-and-run.
He suspended 8 1/2 years of the sentence on conditions Lindy not violate any laws for 10 years, be on supervised probation, and submit to random drug screening. He suspended her driver's license for six months.
She must repay court costs and $3,156 in investigation expenses.
Lindy, of Church View, will get credit for time served since her bond was revoked on January 29, 2008.
Before sentencing, a tearful Lindy turned to the family and friends of Halstead and apologized with a crying voice that was hard to understand. "I'm sorry," she said.
Judge Shaw prefaced his sentencing by saying, "On the one inclination, you have a fine young man who died just as he was starting out his adult life, and died tragically.
"So, as a judge I say, ‘What if he were my son?' If I did it emotionally, I'd probably want her to serve forever," said Judge Shaw.
"But if I'm going to do that, then I say, ‘What if she's my daughter? What do I want in that case?' So there is a balancing. It's not just simply saying I'm going to decide one way or the other. I have to do both," said Judge Shaw.
Judge Shaw heard Martin Halstead, Josh Halstead's father, say Lindy had caused Josh's "parents, family and friends an ongoing nightmare. I am sick and tired of the daily reminder of this torment and loss."
A member of the U.S. Army, Mr. Halstead said he has been "compassionately reassigned" to Virginia to help the family through the tragedy.
Donna Dunlevy, Josh Halstead's mother, lined up four photographs of her son on the witness stand for Lindy to see. She held up each one and described them to the court.
Dunlevy testified that she went to the accident scene where she saw her son lying under a sheet, face down in the middle of the road.
She said her son Zachary, who was walking with Joshua and another person when his older brother was killed, couldn't sleep for two months and "still has problems. There are days we don't talk about Joshua."
Mrs. Dunlevy continued, "Our hearts yearn to have him with us and I would do anything to just have him smile again.
"The lives of our family have been changed forever," said Mrs. Dunlevy. "There is nothing that can be said that will bring Joshua back or erase the tragic scene that is now forever implanted in Zachary's memory."
Zachary Halstead, now 11 years old, said his older brother was a "role model and inspiration for me," a fact that was important since Mr. Halstead and Mrs. Dunlevy separated when Zachary was a baby.
"He taught me to dribble a basketball without looking down," said Zachary. "Most of the stuff I know he taught me."
After Josh's death Zachary said he had "a hard time concentrating in school."
Zachary said that since his brother's death, he's moved up to be a Boy Scout, graduated to middle school, and hit his first home run. "I know that if he could, he would be there for me. I also have faith that he was there in spirit, but that's not the same as being there in real life cheering me on."
Defense attorney Mike Morchower called no witnesses to testify on Lindy's behalf.
During closing arguments Hurd portrayed Lindy as a "careless, dangerous and selfish person" who was concerned only about consequences to herself and lied to police and authorities.
Lindy first claimed to police she didn't know what she had hit, noted Hurd, his voice wavering with emotion. "A young man's head was smashed into her windshield and a man was on her hood for 149 feet."
Josh was thrown onto the hood of the car and his head and his left shoulder hit the windshield, said Hurd. His shoes and socks were knocked off his feet as were his pants.
"She kept going," said Hurd.
By leaving the scene Lindy could not be tested for alcohol or drugs, Hurd noted. "She knew that at the time."
Hurd said Lindy drank one or two beers at dusk, and had taken NyQuil and Tylenol PM medications that cause sleep.
Hurd said there was not enough evidence to prove "gross recklessness," which is among the criteria necessary for a conviction of involuntary manslaughter.
Hurd concentrated on the hit-and-run charge, which Lindy had pleaded guilty to on June 4. "She didn't stop because she feared the consequences to herself," said Hurd, noting this was evident in the probation and parole report and the Virginia State Police report.
"Anybody would know to stop and find out if there is anything that could be done" for the victim, he said.
"There's a legal and moral duty that we are talking about, even if there was a dog that was struck or a deer that was struck," said Hurd. "She had to know it was a person and she would not extend the same courtesy that the normal person would for an animal lying in the road.
"She knew what she had hit, and that it was a person, and that's exactly why she didn't stop," said Hurd.
Lindy did not call 911; instead, she called friends and talked for 16 minutes about how this affected her, said Hurd.
Lindy later told police she struck a man in the center of the road, but "we know this is not true" from the police report, said Hurd.
Lindy said she slept in the woods, which was not true, and that she was by herself, when in reality an 11-year-old was in the seat next to her, said Hurd.
"She knew she was on probation in Gloucester for two drug charges," continued Hurd. "She's morally depleted of basic human values and the Commonwealth is concerned what she will be like when she is released."
While on pretrial release for the hit-and-run, Lindy was ordered not to drink alcohol, and the pre-sentencing report stated "her drinking increased," said Hurd. Her bond was revoked on January 29, 2008.
Lindy had violated her probation in Gloucester and bond requirements in Middlesex, said Hurd. "I don't know what sentence beyond incarceration will do, because she's shown what she'd be like outside of jail."
Morchower said Josh Halstead "could not have survived" the impact. He said the key component of hit-and-run is to render medical aid. "There was no aid that could be administered," he said.
The State Police report stated that Josh Halstead was "struck on the roadway as there was no indication of the vehicle traveling into the grass," Morchower read.
The police report also states that one of the people walking with Josh Halstead warned him to stay off the road, said Morchower.
The speed limit on that portion of Old Virginia Street, which is without street lights, is 55 miles per hour even during Oyster Festival weekend. This, said Morchower, "is a tragedy in and of itself. He described the road as "a dangerous environment."
"There is nothing we can do to change that night; there is nothing we can do to bring this young man back," said Morchower. "We could give her a life sentence, if the court had the authority to do that, but it wouldn't change the circumstances that were enunciated from the witness stand by the Halstead family."
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Steve Centner
Record added: May 31, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53050795
Added: Oct. 12, 2012
Added: Dec. 13, 2011
I MISS YOU JOSHUA AND I HAVE BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE, SO PROUD OF YOU KID!!!!LOVE YA.. Dad|
Added: Sep. 17, 2011
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