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Manslaughter charge advances in traffic death of Pulaski County sheriff's deputy

Manslaughter charge advances in traffic death of Pulaski County sheriff's deputy


A manslaughter case against a Pulaski County man charged with the death of a sheriff’s deputy in a head-on traffic collision advanced Thursday to circuit court.

Michael Dominic Morris, 26, waived a preliminary hearing on charges of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and felony reckless driving, sending them to a grand jury that meets next month.

Additional charges of felony murder and unauthorized use of a vehicle were dropped, according to Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin Griffith.

The charges stem from a Jan. 10 wreck that killed Sgt. Perry Hodge of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.

Prosecutors have said that Morris, high on heroin, veered his pickup into the northbound lane of U.S. 11 north of Dublin at about 4 a.m. He struck a second pickup truck that was being driven by Hodge, who was on his way to work.

Hodge, 49, died at the scene. He was praised at the time by county officials as having more than 15 years of service with the sheriff’s department, most recently supervising school resource officers.

Morris, who has an extensive record of past traffic offenses, continues to be held without bond, Griffith said in a news release Thursday.

“Mr. Morris continues to regret his actions that night and their tragic consequences,” defense attorney Rob Dean said after a brief hearing in which no evidence was taken. “He never intended for the accident to happen and remains deeply sorry to the Hodge family.”

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Laurence Hammack covers environmental issues, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and business and enterprise stories. He has been a reporter for The Roanoke Times for more than three decades.

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