Officer’s accident details emerge

Posted: August 16, 2014

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Winchester Police Department has released the details from a crash involving a Loudoun County Sheriff’s sergeant who shot his daughter Tuesday morning after mistaking her for an intruder.

Easton McDonald, 47, was driving the 16-year-old to Winchester Medical Center at about 3:30 a.m. after shooting her at their residence at 417 Lily’s Way in Frederick County.

According to a police crash report that was released Friday after a Freedom of Information Act request, McDonald was traveling west on Cork Street when he lost control of a 2008 GMC Acadia while going over the railroad tracks at the intersection of East Lane.

The vehicle then crashed into a brick wall and concrete post — belonging to Apple Valley Office Products — coming to a rest partially hanging over an embankment.

Capt. Leonard Bauserman, of the Winchester Police Department, said that the department did not have any 911 calls in reference to the wreck, likely because a city officer in the area saw it happen.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Department, on Thursday, released its 911 call from the shooting after a FOIA request.

“What happened?” a woman yells in the background as a woman’s voice answers, “Frederick County 911.”

“Send an ambulance to my house, my daughter’s been shot, 417 Lily’s Way,” McDonald can be heard shouting, obviously frantic.

The dispatcher asks him to repeat the address and tries to assess what has happened before she is cut off.

“I’m going to take her to the hospital myself, OK?” he can be heard yelling from a distance.

The dispatcher tries again to get McDonald’s attention, but it sounds as if the phone has been dropped and is just picking up background noise.

“Get in the car ... give me the car keys,” McDonald yells, all the while repeating, “no, no” as if in disbelief.

The vehicle starts and the call ends after a short bit of static.

It wasn’t long after that when McDonald crashed the vehicle, his wife and injured daughter in tow.

According to the crash report, McDonald’s wife, Julissa, 38, was possibly injured, but not taken to the hospital. McDonald was not injured.

Neither were wearing seat belts, and the report states that a summons issued as a result of the crash is pending.

The vehicle was marked in the report as totaled, with an approximate repair cost of $18,000.

The damage to the brick wall/pole that the vehicle struck is estimated to be about $5,000.

Conditions were wet and rainy, according to the report.

Bauserman said that police responding to the scene immediately called for an ambulance for the injured teen.

According to Capt. Donnie Lang of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, the daughter — a Millbrook High School student — was taken to the hospital from the crash scene and is still recovering, but is in stable condition.

Her identity has not been released because she is a juvenile.

After the 911 call, Lang said deputies responded at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday to McDonald’s residence to secure the scene.

The investigation revealed that he was allegedly getting ready for work when he heard his interior alarm sound, indicating the garage door had been opened.

On the way to the attached garage, McDonald heard noises in the garage and grabbed his personal firearm — Lang said he did not use his duty weapon.

He opened the interior garage door and saw a figure coming at him, then fired his weapon, realizing soon after that he struck his daughter in the torso area, according to Lang.

Charges have not been filed against McDonald, but the case remains under investigation. Lang said Friday that he expects a ruling on the case from the Frederick County Commonwealth’s Attorney next week.

Kraig Troxell, of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that McDonald is on paid administrative leave while the department conducts an internal investigation — which is typical protocol after an on- or off-duty incident such as a shooting.

McDonald has been with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office since 2001. He was promoted to sergeant in 2012.

According to the Frederick County tax map, he and his wife bought the house on Lily’s Way in 2002.

McDonald did not return phone calls for comment on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com