- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2007

HILLSVILLE, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has admitted in court he was the driver in an accident more than a half century ago that killed a 74-year-old man on his way to church.

Verlyn Brady, 77, pleaded guilty Thursday to reckless driving in the 1953 hit-and-run death of George Lewis Dalton.

Carroll County Circuit Judge Brett Geisler sentenced Brady to 12 months in jail, all suspended. He also ordered him to pay a $500 fine, put him on unsupervised probation for two years and limited his driving for six months to and from medical appointments.

On Oct. 24, 1953, Mr. Dalton and his wife crossed U.S. 52 in front of their home about two miles south of Hillsville. They were walking toward a car that waited to take them to church when Mr. Dalton was run down. His wife survived with injuries.

The driver continued north on U.S. 52, disappearing into the darkness.

Last summer, as Brady prepared to undergo open-heart surgery at a hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., he told a nurse he wanted to talk to a police officer. He told a Virginia State Police investigator that he thought he hit a deer, but might have hit Mr. Dalton that night more than 50 years ago.

George Farthing, the state trooper who had investigated the fatal hit-and-run, is now 77. He said he remembers bending over in the road to pick up broken glass from a headlight, the only physical evidence.

A teenager known for speeding around town was suspected but ultimately cleared.

Brady said he was driving his sister’s Chevy when he was blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. He inspected the car later and found that it had a broken headlight. There was blood on the bumper, and he thought he had struck a deer or a large dog.

Only when he saw a newspaper article about Mr. Dalton’s death did he start to wonder if he had hit a person. That suspicion, he said, had left him wondering all these years.

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