Man Who Died in Crash to be Exhumed - WSET.com - ABC13

Man Who Died in Crash to be Exhumed

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Gunter's body will be exhumed from his grave and taken to the state medical examiner's office in Roanoke for a full autopsy. Gunter's body will be exhumed from his grave and taken to the state medical examiner's office in Roanoke for a full autopsy.
The man police say was behind the wheel, Steve Oulds, III is charged with DUI manslaughter. The man police say was behind the wheel, Steve Oulds, III is charged with DUI manslaughter.

Bedford Co., VA - The body of a Lynchburg man will be exhumed this week, nearly six months after his death.

James Dale Gunter was killed in a crash on August 18 in Bedford County. Police say he was the passenger and was not wearing his seatbelt.

The man police say was behind the wheel, Steve Oulds, III is charged with DUI manslaughter.

Oulds' preliminary hearing is set for this Friday, but the prosecution says it will likely be continued, as a judge granted a petition by the Commonwealth to have Gunter's body exhumed for an autopsy.  An autopsy was not performed immediately after Gunter's death.

Bedford County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Wheelock says because DUI manslaughter is such a serious charge, he needs to make sure they prove James Gunter died as a result of injuries from that crash.

A photo taken (pictured) by the Bedford Fire Department on the day of the crash shows the scene on Route 501 near Coleman Falls.

State Police say the car was heading north when it ran off the right side of the road, hit a guardrail, and flipped down a steep embankment.

The local medical examiner declared Gunter dead at the scene, but the Commonwealth now says some of the information provided to the medical examiner that day might not have been correct.

As a result, on Thursday, Gunter's body will be exhumed from his grave and taken to the state medical examiner's office in Roanoke for a full autopsy.

The cemetery received a court order to comply and Wheelock tells ABC 13 Gunter's mother has been informed about the exhumation.

ABC 13 spoke to Dr. Gayle Suzuki, a state medical examiner in Roanoke Tuesday.

We asked how accurate an autopsy would even be after that amount of time, and considering any preparations to the body or decay.

Suzuki says it all depends on the condition at burial. Ground condition can even be a factor.

Dr. Suzuki says an autopsy immediately after death is always preferable.

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