Driver of dragster that killed 6 to accept deal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Driver of dragster that killed 6 to accept deal

A state prosecutor says the man who lost control of his dragster and killed six spectators at a summer festival in Selmer will accept a plea deal.

District Attorney General Michael Dunavant said Tuesday that Troy Critchley is scheduled to accept the deal at a hearing on Thursday.

The deal means Critchley will not spend any time in jail.  He will agree to a year and a half of probation, and will plead guilty to multiple counts of misdemeanor simple assault by reckless conduct, instead of felony vehicular homicide.

Critchley, a professional driver from Texas, faces six charges of vehicular homicide and 22 charges of reckless aggravated assault in last year's crash at the Cars for Kids festival.

The dragster was being put through tire-burning stunts on an open city street when it spun into a crowd of unprotected spectators. Besides the six young people killed, more than two dozen other spectators were hurt, many seriously.

Critchley's attorney, Robert Hutton, said in an interview Tuesday that vehicular homicide doesn't fit his client's actions in the government organized charity event.

"(It was an) Event organized by local government officials for 18 years," Hutton said. "Mr. Critchley was there for a charity event."

Anthony Knight, a close friend to one of the victims of the crash, said he didn't know what to think about the agreement.

"I know him going to jail is not going to bring him back," Knight said. "Him going to jail is not going to make what he has to live with any easier."

A mother of two girls killed in the crash didn't want to speak about the agreement until it is finalized Thursday.  In an interview last month, Darla Griswell said Critchley should not walk free.

"I'm going to miss being in the delivery room with my daughters when they have their children," Griswell said in the interview.  "Their daddy's never going to walk his children down the isle."

Critchley is expected to make a statement to the victims' families during Thursday's hearing. 

No one else has been charged, but a review of a Highway Patrol investigation into the crash is ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.

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