Drug, alcohol-related guilty pleas, sentences

Guilty pleas were entered and sentences were handed down on a variety of charges Monday afternoon (March 10) in Rappahannock County Circuit Court.

The first was Jerry Wayne Vanover, who was indicted by a grand jury Monday and pleaded guilty to failure to report an accident where someone was seriously injured.

Summarizing evidence for the court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said the 50-year-old Vanover was driving a GMC pickup truck near Chester Gap last Oct. 16 when he collided, head-on, with a Ford Explorer driven by Thomas Williams.

Vanover continued driving for a short distance, Goff said, before flipping his truck and leaving the scene of that crash to walk to a friend’s house. Vanover told Virginia State Police Trooper Phillip Thomas he had dropped a cigarette in his lap, looked down to get it and hit Williams’ truck. When asked why he didn’t stop, Vanover admitted he “freaked out” after the accident. Goff said police determined alcohol was a factor in the crash.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced June 16.

Also sentenced Monday was 23-year-old Ahmed Safwat Moharam, of Fairfax, who pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of oxycodone last December.

Summarizing evidence, Goff said RCSO Deputy Christopher Koglin pulled Moharam over on Viewtown Road last Jan. 28 for speeding and noticed the car smelled like marijuana; Moharam admitted he “had a roach” sitting in the ashtray. Goff said Koglin also discovered a bag with 32 green pills in Moharam’s shoes; they were later identified as oxycodone.

Both Goff and Moharam’s counsel, Mark Bailey, argued for leniency: A deferred disposition or “first offender status.” Judge Jeffrey W. Parker agreed, putting Moharam on probation for 10 months and requiring him to complete 100 hours of community service. Parker also suspended his driver’s license for six months.

“This is a real opportunity for you and not everyone takes advantage of it,” Parker cautioned Moharam. “You can avoid a felony charge on your record if you just do as you’re told here.”

Chester Gap resident Brian Patrick Swofford, 40, pleaded guilty to violating his probation and was remanded into the custody of the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office.

Swofford, who appealed the case from district court, offered no defense to three charges of violating his probation: a positive drug test (marijuana), failure to report to his probation officer and failure to complete his mandated drug counseling.

“He’s just not reporting, and that means we have no idea how he’s doing,” Goff said, adding that he felt reimposing a “significant portion” of Swofford’s suspended sentence was appropriate.

“You couldn’t have done much worse here besides going out and committing another crime,” Parker said. “I haven’t heard a single reason why I shouldn’t revoke your entire sentence, so that’s what I’m going to do.” Parker then sentenced Swofford to 90 days in jail.

Theotis Darnell Williams, 36, of Culpeper, also pleaded guilty to violating his probation and was subsequently sentenced.

Williams picked up his violation for driving on a suspended license. Goff argued for extending Williams’ probation for 90 days, to remind him that “he must obey the court’s orders . . . . He’s only on probation by the grace of the court.”

Parker agreed, adding that he didn’t want to send Williams to jail unless he had to and that the 90-day sentence “is about as little as this court can do, honestly.”

Grand jury indictments

In addition to Vanover, three others were indicted by a grand jury convened Monday morning in Rappahannock County Circuit Court. All three cases were continued to April 3.

Allante Tobias Strother was indicted on one count of eluding police; Thomas Leroy Walter III was indicted on one count of illegally possessing a firearm; and Vanphunida Iv was indicted on one count of possession of narcotics.

DUI arrests

On March 5, Deputy Christopher Koglin stopped a vehicle on Fodderstack Road for a traffic violation.  The driver, 50-year-old Marcus Lee Marshall of Front Royal, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

Last Saturday (March 8), Koglin encountered a vehicle at Mayhugh’s Store; the driver, 21-year-old Robert Edward Orange of Woodville, was also charged with DUI.

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