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Man with autism who was serving 10 years for non-fatal crash released from prison following pardon

Posted at 2:32 PM, Apr 05, 2021

Matthew Rushin, a man with autism who was serving 10 years in prison for his role in two non-fatal car crashes, was released from prison on March 29 after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam granted him a conditional pardon last year.

In January 2019, Rushin was leaving a parking lot and hit a car after picking up pastries at a Panera Bread. Rushin turned back, but when he turned around he lost control and hit another car, according to the police investigation.

The three-vehicle crash left a man with life-threatening injuries, and Rushin pleaded guilty to two charges of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run in November 2019.

Rushin was initially sentenced to 50 years in prison before a judge suspended 40 years from that sentence.

Rushin's family has maintained that his autism may have played a role in the crash and that he did not have "malicious intent." They have also argued that the court did not properly consider his condition.

The pardon requires that Rushin agrees to a number of strict requirements, including never possessing a firearm, not operating a vehicle and never contacting the victims or their families. His conviction was not overturned.

This story was originally published by WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia.