Driver in fatal food truck crash previously charged with wiretapping, extortion in Nev.

LEESBURG, Va. — The driver of a food truck that police say ran a stop sign and crashed into a car driven by an Ashburn mother, killing her and injuring four family members, made his first court appearance after being indicted on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Tony Steven Dane was indicted Monday by a Loudoun County grand jury for involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, driving without a license and insurance, and failure to have his converted 2000 Thomas school bus, which was operating as Dane’s Great American Hamburger, inspected.

Dane was ordered held until a Wednesday bond hearing.

Erin Kaplan, 39, was killed Sept. 8, when her Audi station wagon was hit on Evergreen Mills Road. Her three children and mother were injured in the crash. Prosecutors say Dane failed to stop as he drove down curvy Watson Road, and struck Kaplan’s car, as she drove northbound on Evergreen Mills Road.

Dane told investigators his brakes failed, and he was unable to stop before slamming into Kaplan’s station wagon.

In court, Loudoun County prosecutors told the judge Dane was on bond for several felonies committed in Nevada, at the time of the Loudoun County crash.

Court records show Dane was indicted last year in Nevada for extortion, wiretapping, and other charges, while working as a political strategist.

Kaplan’s husband, Faran, was in the courtroom during Dane’s initial appearance before Circuit Court Judge Stephen Sincavage.

“Accountability and justice, and those principles are important to (Faran,) so being here to represent his family and represent his wife is extremely important to him,” said attorney Michael Shevlin, who is representing the estate of Erin Kaplan in a civil suit filed Oct. 3.

Shevlin spoke to reporters about the Kaplan family after Dane’s initial hearing.

“I think they’re appreciative of the efforts of the sheriff’s office, they’re appreciative of the commonwealth’s attorney’s office,” said Shevlin. “I think the family’s hope is that there will be accountability for what has happened, and they’re thankful the criminal process is moving forward.”

Shevlin said Faran Kaplan has been trying to help his children, who were injured in the crash, while grieving the loss of his wife.

“The healing from the physical injuries continues to happen — I think the healing from the emotional injuries is going to take a while,” said Shevlin.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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