Driver to enter plea in Lansdowne crash that killed baby

WASHINGTON — The driver of an SUV that struck and killed 5-month-old Tristan Schulz in a 2016 crash in Lansdowne, Virginia, will enter a “no contest” plea to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge, and admit guilt to a traffic infraction.

John Miller IV will enter the pleas Oct. 10, defense attorney Steven Webster told WTOP. Miller had been scheduled to go on trial that date.

Last month, Loudoun County prosecutors dropped the most serious charge against Miller — involuntary manslaughter — when it became clear evidence did not support the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars.

Webster said his client does not have a plea agreement with prosecutors, which will allow the judge to determine the sentence for Miller. Webster said the judge could set a separate date for the sentencing hearing.

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Failure to yield right of way to a pedestrian is a traffic infraction, which would result in a fine.

“According to our filing, he will be pleading guilty to failure to yield, and no contest to reckless driving,” said Webster.

In a “no contest” plea, a defendant neither disputes nor admits the crime. If the judge accepts the plea, Miller will be found guilty.

Webster and Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman would not disclose what sentence they will seek.

Prosecutors allege Miller’s inattention and actions behind the wheel led him to strike Schulz Aug. 31, 2016, as his mother, Mindy, pushed his stroller across Riverside Parkway at Coton Manor Drive. Mindy Schulz was severely injured, but recovered.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up