WINCHESTER — A race between two drivers caused the crash that killed a 17-year-old girl on Aug. 7, according to police who have charged the girl’s brother and another driver.
Sarah Michelle Ehrhardt was a rear passenger in a Ford hatchback driven by Nicholas Isaiah Ehrhardt. Police said he was eastbound on Berryville Pike (Va. 7) in the left lane of the two-lane road and speeding when he lost control of the car around 3:25 p.m. The speed limit where the crash occurred is 55 mph. The Ford spun 180 degrees and collided with a fence and metal pole holding up the sign at the Oak Hill Grocery Store at 2807 Berryville Pike.
The collision split the Ford apart, with the rear half coming to rest about 30 yards away from the front half. Ehrhardt died at the scene. Her brother and a front-seat passenger sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.
After the crash, police asked the public for help in tracking down another driver who they said may have been involved in the crash. On Thursday, Ehrhardt and driver Christopher Troy Colter were indicted by a Frederick County grand jury. The indictments said they were illegally racing and caused Sarah Ehrhardt’s death.
Colter, of the 4300 block of Senseny Road in Berryville, was charged with racing and reckless driving causing death and leaving the scene of an accident. He had not been arrested as of Friday afternoon. Ehrhardt, of the 2200 block of Papermill Road in Frederick County, was arrested Thursday and charged with racing and reckless driving causing death and reckless driving.
Lt. Warren W. Gosnell, county Sheriff’s Office spokesman, wouldn’t provide details in an email on Thursday on the probable cause for the charges, such as how fast the vehicles were traveling or how Colter was identified as a suspect. He said releasing details might compromise the prosecutions.
The 26-year-old Colter’s driving record includes convictions for reckless driving and failure to have a vehicle inspected. On his Instagram account, Colter discusses racing and shows a car doing doughnuts.
“Had to swing it last night! We took down the streets for our own,” Colter said in the Nov. 21 post. “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us.”
The 21-year-old Ehrhardt’s driving record includes a conviction for failing to obey a highway sign.
Sarah Ehrhardt was a senior at Eukarya Christian Academy in Stephens City and a Winchester Church of God parishioner, according to her obituary.
“Sarah was an avid reader and was often found spending hours at Blue Plate Books,” her obituary said. “She loved spending time writing stories, snuggling with her dogs and laughing with her friends and family.”