He was a designated driver when a drunken driver hit him head-on and he died
By JANE HARPER | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: November 11, 2017
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Tribune News Service) — Natalie Dill planned to celebrate her 27th birthday by going out to dinner with her husband and family and then heading to the Oceanfront with friends.
Her husband, Daniel Dill, didn’t drink. He told her to go have a good time and offered to pick the group up later so they didn’t have to worry about driving home.
Dill was on his way to pick up his wife and her friends about 2 a.m. Saturday when he crossed paths with a drunken driver going the wrong way on Interstate 264, according to court documents.
A woman driving a 2011 Cadillac struck his 2009 Mazda head-on in the eastbound lane, just west of the Birdneck Road exit, according to a police summary of the incident.
Dill died just after midnight Sunday at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. The 29-year-old had suffered a major spinal cord injury, his brain was severely swollen, and he had internal injuries and broken bones, according to his family. They made the decision to withdraw care once doctors explained his prognosis.
The Cadillac’s driver, Melissa Ann Hancock, was charged with DUI maiming immediately after the crash, said Macie Allen, a spokeswoman for the commonwealth’s attorney. The charges were upgraded after Dill's death. She was charged with driving while intoxicated and maiming, according to The Associated Press.
Hancock, 25, who has been featured on the reality TV show ”Little Women: Atlanta,” told a state police trooper she had two to four mixed drinks at Peabody’s Nightclub at the Oceanfront about an hour before the crash, the police summary said. Her blood alcohol content tested at 0.112 two hours later, the summary said. Hancock is 4 feet tall and weighs 77 pounds, according to a court summons.
Hancock was granted a $15,000 bond during a court hearing Tuesday, and was ordered to wear a GPS device that also monitors alcohol use.
Prosecutors objected to the bond decision and have filed an appeal, Allen said.
Hancock works in insurance sales and has a prior marijuana conviction on her record, according to a bail determination sheet in her court file. The document said she has lived in Virginia Beach for four weeks and began working for GEICO three weeks ago.
“Everyone involved feels horrible about the tragic accident,” said Hancock’s attorney, Stephen Pfeiffer. “We are investigating the accident and the allegations against Miss Hancock.” Pfeiffer said he was aware that his client had been involved in a reality television show, but did not know which one.
Natalie Dill’s father, Steven Rocha, said his son-in-law was “the most compassionate guy you would ever meet.”
“He was the best son-in-law a father could ever have. We loved him as if he were our son.”
Dill was a petty officer 2nd class in the Coast Guard, and lived in Portsmouth with his wife and their two dogs. He joined the Coast Guard in 2006 after graduating from high school in Logan Township, N.J., following in the footsteps of his older brother. His younger brother would later join them.
“He was the most clean-cut guy,” Dill’s father, Chris Dill Sr., said. “He never drank or smoked, and you had to really push his buttons to get him to curse. There wasn’t a confrontational bone in his body.”
Steven Rocha said his daughter was devastated by her husband’s death. The couple met several years ago at a sushi restaurant in Suffolk where Natalie was waiting tables at the time. Dill had come in there with some Coast Guard buddies and soon became a regular.
“Dan didn’t even like seafood,” Rocha said. “He just kept going back to see her.”
The couple married after about a year of dating. They bought a house a couple of years ago, and were hoping to start a family soon, Chris Dill said.
“They were an awesome couple,” he said.