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Colonial Heights man guilty in crash that killed friend
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Oct 23, 2013, 17:07


CHESTERFIELD — A Colonial Heights man pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the drunken driving death of his best friend.

Aaron Blane Christy, 30, of the 1200 block of River Oaks Drive, pleaded guilty Oct. 10 in Chesterfield Circuit Court in the death of Andrew N. Burhman, 29, of the 1200 block of Burlington Drive, Colonial Heights, according to court records.

The crash occurred June 8 near 18110 Branders Bridge Road in Chesterfield, just outside of the northwest corner of Colonial Heights, as they were on their way back to a friend’s house.

According to a police report, Christy and Burhman had been drinking at the friend’s house before going to Longstreet’s Deli in Petersburg. He told police that he had a couple of drinks and did not want to drive. He said he remembered leaving the club but later nothing else other than pain in his arm.

According to Fire and EMS, Christy’s car left the road and flipped several times before landing on its roof. Air bags deployed but Burhman was not wearing a seatbelt. He suffered head trauma and died at the scene, according to the medical examiner.  

A police report says Christy was trapped inside the vehicle with his arm pinned under the vehicle. He was alert and knew the time, date and place.

A police officer said he could smell alcohol on Christy’s breath and he initially had an alcohol breathalyzer test result of 0.17 percent.

A report said speed and alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Christy was taken to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond where he was questioned by police after being stabilized. He told police that he knew he should not have driven. Christy asked about his friend, and police told him that Burhman did not survive.

Christy was in disbelief that he killed his best friend and told police that he would “cooperate fully and take responsibility for what happened.”

He then allowed blood to be drawn for alcohol analysis.

Christy’s blood alcohol content was 0.16 percent, two times the legal limit, according to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Burhman’s blood alcohol content was 0.20 percent.

Online court records show Christy has had numerous charges related to speeding and alcohol.

Christy had previously been convicted of drunken driving in Colonial Heights in 2011. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail with 11 months and 26 days suspended. He was also ordered to pay $456 in fines and court costs.

He also was charged with drunk in public in 2011 in Colonial Heights and in 2012 in Petersburg and 2005 in Richmond. He had speeding tickets in 2007 and 2008 in Colonial Heights and in 2010 in Chesterfield and 2004 and 2010 in Petersburg.

Burhman was a 2002 graduate of Colonial Heights High School and was working as a shipping clerk at D.B. Schenker, according to his obituary. He was survived by his mother and brother and other family and friends.

Christy remains in custody and his next court date is set for Jan. 6.

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