Plea Hearing Set In Fatal Crash Case

Police Say Elkton Man Plowed Into ATV While Intoxicated

Posted: January 9, 2013

HARRISONBURG — An Elkton man accused of being drunk when he crashed into an all-terrain vehicle, killing a man, plans to try to strike a plea deal with prosecutors.

Justin D. Harris, 27, is charged with felony involuntary manslaughter.
On Tuesday, Harris appeared in Rockingham County Circuit Court, where Judge James Lane scheduled a plea hearing for Feb. 5.

On Oct. 22, police say, Harris struck an all-terrain vehicle stopped in the 17000 block of Red Brush Road north of Elkton. The victim, Ralph J. Mowbray, 73, of Elkton, had been using a Honda Foreman ATV to pull his lawn mower from the ditch it was stuck in, according to Virginia State Police.

Two other men, who were not identified at the time, were helping Mowbray. One of the men wore a reflective vest and directed traffic on Red Brush Road. Neither was injured.

Once Mowbray had pulled the lawn mower from the ditch, police say, he stopped the ATV in the westbound lane of Red Brush Road. He was struck as he got off the vehicle.

Mowbray was flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, where he died.

Harris, who was not injured, had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.19 percent, sources say. In Virginia, the presumed level of intoxication is 0.08 percent.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or