Dany Heatley, a star wing with the University of Wisconsin before joining the Atlanta Thrashers, was indicted Friday on a felony charge of first-degree vehicular homicide resulting from a September, 2003 car accident that killed Dan Snyder, a teammate and close friend of Heatley's.
Heatley was also charged with five misdemeanors by a Fulton County, Ga., grand jury.
Vehicular homicide is typically a misdemeanor, for which a conviction results in probation or one year in jail. Aggravating circumstances—in this case misdemeanor charges including reckless driving and driving too fast for conditions—escalate the charge to a felony that can yield a sentence of three to 15 years. If convicted of all charges, Heatley could face 20 years.
On Sept. 29, 2003, Heatley and Snyder were driving home when Heatley lost control of his Ferrari and hit a brick pillar and an iron fence. Snyder was thrown 30 feet from the car. He died Oct. 5 due to head injuries suffered in the crash.
Heatley suffered a broken jaw and torn knee ligaments in the crash. He returned to the Thrashers lineup four months later and played 31 games.
Snyder's family continued to support Heatley Friday.
"Our feelings have never changed and we continue to support Dany and the entire Heatley family," Snyder's family said in a statement. "Despite our personal feelings in this matter, we respect the responsibility of the district attorney's office and the legal process."
The Atlanta Thrashers organization also issued statements of support Friday.
"Throughout the process, we felt that, and continue to feel that, the end result will show that this was truly an accident, and Dany will be ready to play," Atlanta general manager Don Waddell said, according to the New York Times.
Heatley indicted in fatal car crash
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