Criminal Justice

Man who died after driving flaming truck into law firm had dated one of its clients

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A Virginia man who died last Friday after lighting his pickup on fire and driving it into a North Carolina law firm had dated one of its clients.

The driver, Alan Boyd Lanier, 56, of Amelia Court House, Virginia, near Richmond, was unemployed and depressed before the incident, his brother, Bobby Lanier, told the Virginian-Pilot. Alan Lanier waited until after work hours before driving the truck into the Twiford Law Firm in Moyock, North Carolina.

The Twiford Law Firm had represented Lanier’s girlfriend, a Ukrainian woman who later obtained a $3 million settlement from her ex-husband, the Virginian-Pilot says. The woman returned to the Ukraine two months ago, Moyock Sheriff Susan Johnson told the newspaper.

Alan Lanier felt his girlfriend had been unjustly treated by lawyers at the Twiford Law Firm and by a nearby lawyer who later represented the Ukrainian woman, Bobby Lanier said.

The nearby lawyer was Darlene Chambers, who told the Virginian-Pilot that Lanier was combative when he accompanied his girlfriend to legal appointments. “I banned him,” she said. “He was argumentative. He was too disruptive.”

The Twiford Law Firm continued to represent a daughter of the woman when Chambers took over the case. Chambers said Alan Lanier may have targeted the Twiford law offices because they were in a building that was easier to penetrate than hers. Chambers’ office is in a block building.

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