Man accused in fatal Grove Avenue crash found not guilty by reason of insanity

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The man accused of a high-speed crash in Richmond that killed an award-winning author has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Robert Gentil pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in court Tuesday. The court accepted the plea after doctor’s concluded Gentil was manic at the time of the crash.

Police say Gentil told them he was trying to fly his car like an airplane when he sped down Grove Avenue at nearly 100 miles per hour last April.

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The crash killed 64-year old Elizabeth Pryor, an award-winning author and historian.

“I think it truly is a situation of which there are no winners in this and that he is somebody who needs help and I truly hope that that what he’s going to get,” said the victim’s sister Beverly Louise Brown. She flew to Richmond from England for the hearing.

A364E44794B448EFBD340B609D151328Gentil’s attorney Ted Bruns added, “This wasn’t a situation where Robert made a decision to go out and intentionally violate the law and hurt anybody. He’s as distraught now as he was the day he learned that he had taken Ms. Pryor’s life.”

Gentil was taken from court to Central State Hospital for a mental evaluation. Doctors will help the court determine if Gentil should be committed to a hospital or released.

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