The Collegian
Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Student arrested for involuntary manslaughter following fatal car collision

Police arrested a University of Richmond student Wednesday night for involuntary manslaughter following a car accident that resulted in one death, said Robert Cerullo, the Powhatan Deputy Commonwealth’s attorney.

The student, Richard Conk, 18, of Camden, Delaware, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Conk's vehicle collided head-on with a vehicle driven by Michael Issac Thompson, 22, at 4:42 p.m. on Feb. 15, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch article.

Involuntary manslaughter is charged after someone has committed a reckless act of gross, wanton conduct that leads to the death of another, Cerullo, who will serve as criminal prosecutor in the case, said.

According to a police investigation, Conk was driving on Huguenot Trail, a two-lane road with a double-yellow line divider, in Powhatan, Virginia. Conk attempted to pass the car in front of him, crossing over the double-yellow line at the foot of a hill, but was unable to pass the vehicle in time to avoid his car colliding with the victim’s, who was coming in the opposite direction, Cerullo said.

The victim, who appeared to not have been wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene, Cerullo said. Conk sustained an ankle injury, Cerullo said.

There is evidence that Conk’s car exceeded the speed limit, Cerullo said. However, the involuntary manslaughter charge was a result of Conk's attempt to pass the car, Cerullo said.  

“The real reckless conduct was crossing over the double-yellow line and essentially passing when you’re not allowed to pass,” Cerullo said.

There is no evidence that drinking or the use of a cell phone played a factor in the collision, Cerullo said, although he is still waiting for more records of the incident. There was no one else in the car with Conk at the time of the collision, Cerullo said.

Conk was arrested Wednesday night in Delaware, Cerullo said, and will be extradited to Virginia. Conk will remain in custody until he is brought to Virginia, where he will go before a judge, Cerullo said.

“He’ll have what’s called a bond motion, where his defense attorney will ask him to be released from custody pending trial,” Cerullo said. “The judge will make a determination whether or not he’s going to let him remain in jail until trial or if they’ll release him on bond so he can go to school and do whatever.”

According to Thompson’s obituary notice, Thompson was vice president of Source Capital Financial and previously attended Living Word World Outreach Center, a nondenominational church in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

Cynthia Price, UR director of media and public relations, expressed condolences to Thompson’s family.

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“This is a terrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to the family,” Price said.

Contact news editor Jocelyn Grzeszczak at 

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