A police officer from the Giles County town of Narrows was indicted and arrested Tuesday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter tied to a July 2020 crash.
Chad Jeffrey Stilley, 43, also faces charges of reckless driving and failing to yield the right of way. All three charges are connected to a fatal wreck that occurred July 24, 2020.
Police Chief Bentley Ratcliffe said Wednesday that Stilley has been with the town force since 2017 and was placed on administrative leave after being indicted. He declined to say if Stilley is being paid while on leave.
“Chad’s been a good officer for me,” Ratcliffe said.
Blacksburg attorney Chris Tuck, who is defending Stilley, said that his client maintains his innocence.
Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak, who was appointed as special prosecutor, said the person killed in the crash was Michael A. Acord.
A Virginia State Police news release last year said that Acord’s death came during a police pursuit but gave no details of why he was being chased. The 28-year-old Rich Creek man was on a 2020 Harley-Davidson FXS, state police said, and was headed west on U.S. 460 in Narrows when he swerved around traffic stopped at an intersection.
The motorcycle “rolled onto its side and slid into the side of a Town of Narrows police vehicle that was stopped in the roadway,” the state police news release said.
The police vehicle, a 2019 Dodge Charger, had its emergency equipment activated when it was hit, state police said.
Rehak said Wednesday that Stilley was in the Charger but declined to say more about the officer’s actions, or about what started the chase.
Tuck said that ethical concerns kept him from discussing any facet of the case’s evidence.
State police said that the crash happened a few minutes after 10 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 460 and Third Street.
Acord, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown from the motorcycle and died at the scene, state police said last year.
Tuck said that Stilley is married, has children and loves the community he found in Giles County. Stilley appreciates the expressions of support that he has received since the case began, Tuck said.
Tuck said that Stilley has voiced sympathy for Acord’s family.
Before his police work, Stilley was a private security officer at schools in Georgia and worked as a contractor in the Middle East, Tuck said.
Like the attorneys, Ratcliffe said he could not discuss details of the crash or the chase that led up to it, but he said he was puzzled why Stilley was charged so long afterward.
“The Virginia State Police investigated and cleared it,” Ratcliffe said. “Why this charge was brought back up ... I have no idea.”
Stilley was taken to the New River Valley Regional Jail on Wednesday but was released on a $10,000 bond. He has a scheduling hearing set for July 28 in Giles County Circuit Court, Tuck said.