All-Star Dany Heatley of the Atlanta Thrashers was charged with vehicular homicide Monday, a day after the death of teammate Dan Snyder, who was fatally injured when Heatley’s sports car ran off a road.
A spokesman for the district attorney’s office, Erik Friedly, said the charge was based on a preliminary finding that Heatley was driving recklessly. It carries a prison sentence of three to 15 years.
Snyder died at an Atlanta hospital Sunday night, six days after suffering severe brain injuries in the wreck. He was 25.
Atlanta General Manager Don Waddell said team officials discussed delaying Thursday night’s season opener against Columbus, but Snyder’s family persuaded them to play.
“When I talked to the Snyder family, they really expressed their concern for the team and how we move forward,” Waddell said. “They really felt the team needed to play.”
Heatley also faces four misdemeanor counts, each of which are punishable by up to a year in prison. He is free on $50,000 bond.
“We are overwhelmingly saddened and distraught over this tragic loss,” the Heatley family said in a statement released by the Thrashers.
Police said Heatley was driving his Ferrari at about 80 mph on a narrow two-lane road Sept. 29 when he lost control and smashed into a brick wall and wrought iron fence.
Pittsburgh reached terms with No. 1 draft pick Marc-Andre Fleury, just beating a signing deadline that would have forced the goalie to spend the season in junior hockey.
Fleury, 18, will earn $3.72 million over three years plus incentives that would make the contract worth more.
Eric Staal, 18, the second overall pick in the June draft, agreed to a three-year contract with Carolina after leading the NHL with seven goals in exhibition games.