The driver, Robert Stevens Gentil, is a Spanish teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School.
The driver who struck and killed Richmond historian Elizabeth Pryor this week told police that he thought he was in an airplane and was trying to take off before he hit her vehicle on Grove Avenue.
More than 100 people showed up in Richmond court this morning in support of Robert Stevens Gentil, most from First Presbyterian Church.
Prosecutors said Gentil told police that he thought he was on an airport runway and was trying to take off before the crash.
According to witnesses, he appeared to be going as much as 100 miles per hour for several blocks are he approached the back of Pryor’s car.
The accident, which occurred Monday afternoon, sent a car barreling into a Grove Avenue home and caused the road to be shut down. 64-year-old Elizabeth Brown Pryor, a faculty member at the University of Richmond, was killed in the crash.
Gentil, who is a Spanish teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School, suffers from manic episodes which his defense team says may have caused him to legitimately think he was in an airplane and about to take off. It’s a bizarre defense, one which prosecutors–who have requested another hearing on the matter–are yet to buy.
Read RVANews’ original coverage of the story here.
Photo: Richmond Police