Man who killed Augusta County GOP leader in crash headed to prison after guilty pleas

·4 min read
Sean B. Webster
Sean B. Webster

WAYNESBORO — A Chesapeake man who ran a red light and slammed a pickup truck into a Waynesboro woman's car last year pleaded guilty Thursday to killing her.

In a plea agreement with the Waynesboro Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Sean B. Webster, 23, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Webster, drunk at the time of the crash, was fleeing an earlier hit-and-run incident in Augusta County, according to evidence.

The crash killed 49-year-old Anne Seaton, who was active in local politics and vice chair of the Augusta County Republican Committee. Seaton also served as the director of development for the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra.

Waynesboro Commonwealth's Attorney David Ledbetter said Webster was in the area as part of a visiting work crew doing maintenance on a Waynesboro property.

On Thursday, Webster pleaded guilty to aggravated involuntary vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence — first offense.

Ledbetter said on the night of April 23, Webster and two other members of his crew went to E&J's Deli Pub on West Main Street, where the group bought three beers and six shots of tequila.

Afterward, Ledbetter said Webster went back to a local motel, but said 20 minutes later he got in his employer's pickup and again headed to the West Main Street eatery, where he drank one beer and had another shot.

Webster left the establishment shortly after 9 p.m. that night, but Ledbetter said his whereabouts for an estimated 40 minutes remain unknown. However, later in the evening a pizza delivery driver spotted Webster's pickup across the street from E&J's Deli Pub. The delivery driver said Webster's lights to the 2020 Ford Ranger were turned off and he was driving erratically, and said he decided to follow the truck.

Just outside of Waynesboro's city limits, Webster's pickup struck a woman's vehicle and a fire hydrant. Ledbetter said the delivery driver called 911 and approached Webster, who was still in the pickup. After the delivery driver gave Webster his cell phone to use, the 911 call center phoned back, prompting Webster to toss the phone to the delivery driver and flee the scene toward Waynesboro on U.S. 250.

A nearby Augusta County Sheriff's Office deputy responding to the initial crash tried to follow the pickup but lost sight of the vehicle, which also had a flat tire. Moments later, Webster's pickup ran a red light at the intersection of West Main Street and Lew Dewitt Boulevard in Waynesboro just as Seaton began to pull into the intersection with her 2019 Honda Insight.

Webster's pickup broadsided the Honda, pushing it into a CVS parking lot, where the Honda came to rest just inches from the drugstore. Surveillance video from a nearby Taco Bell restaurant recorded the deadly crash.

Ledbetter said a black box in the pickup recorded Webster's speed at 58 mph at impact.

The Augusta County deputy found Webster slouched across his seat, and said at a preliminary hearing he was asleep and snoring following the crash. Seaton died at the scene.

Webster's blood-alcohol content was .185, more than twice Virginia's legal limit to drive.

An autopsy determined Seaton, a married mother of four, died from blunt-force trauma.

Although Virginia's sentencing guidelines, which are not mandatory, called for a prison term of anywhere from three years and four months to eight years in prison, the plea agreement resulted in an upward deviation from the guidelines.

In all, Webster was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended, giving him 10 years to serve. He was also placed on 10 years of probation upon his release from prison.

Webster, who was represented by H. Eugene Oliver, remains at Middle River Regional Jail while awaiting transfer to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

He still faces a felony hit-and-run charge in Augusta County. If found guilty of the county charge, Webster's sentence will run concurrently with the Waynesboro charges, giving him no additional time behind bars, Ledbetter said.

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Brad Zinn is the cops, courts and breaking news reporter at The News Leader. Have a news tip? Or something that needs investigating? You can email reporter Brad Zinn (he/him) at bzinn@newsleader.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Staunton News Leader: Deadly DUI crash in Waynesboro nets prison term for defendant

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