Former fire chief jailed on sexual abuse charge

Woodville hit-and-run driver pleads guilty; grand jury indicts eight

Eric Alvin Phillips, a 29-year-old Flint Hill resident who last year served as chief of the Flint Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, remains in RSW Jail this week, held without bond while he awaits a hearing May 14 on felony charges of sexually abusing a juvenile with whom he had a custodial or supervisory relationship, and abduction with intent to defile.

Phillips was arrested March 4 by Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office investigator Shawn Walters, said Sheriff Connie C. Smith, after an investigation into the alleged offenses against the unidentified underage female. Phillips was arraigned Tuesday (March 10) in Rappahannock County District Court and assigned a public defender.

Phillips was sentenced to a month in jail last October (along with a year of supervised probation and six months of anger-management counseling) after pleading guilty in circuit court to a misdemeanor assault charge. In exchange for the plea, Judge Jeffrey W. Parker agreed to drop a felony charge of abduction — of Phillips’ former girlfriend, during a fight in which he was also accused of trying to suffocate her — in an agreement worked out by Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff and Phillips’ attorney, Frank Reynolds.

In Circuit Court Friday (March 6), the driver of a pickup truck that struck a car driven by Robin Sue Burke, knocking her vehicle into the path of an oncoming car on U.S. 522 a few miles from her home in Woodville, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of failure to stop at a serious accident. Robert Conrad Butler, 40, of Culpeper, was also found guilty of reckless driving.

Burke, the wife of Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department chief Richie Burke (who was the first emergency responder to arrive at the accident scene), is still recovering from serious injuries she sustained in the crash, which involved three other vehicles. Police reported at the time that Butler sped north from the crash scene into Sperryville, where he was eventually apprehended.

Judge Parker ordered a pre-sentencing report for Butler and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. May 14. In his summary of evidence, Goff said witnesses saw Butler’s compact pickup truck driving erratically before the accident, and it appeared that he and his passenger — Jesse Owens Clark, also of Culpeper — were arguing.

Clark’s hearing on a felony failure-to-report-an-accident charge this Monday (May 8) was continued instead to the same date as Butler’s sentencing — at which time, Goff said at Butler’s hearing, Clark will testify that the two men had been taking PCP on the trip from Culpeper. Clark is also expected to plead guilty to a lesser charge at that time.

DWI charges against Butler, who refused a blood test after his arrest in Sperryville, were dropped in district court Dec. 9.

Grand jury indicts eight

A Circuit Court grand jury returned indictments against eight alleged felons on Monday (May 9), including:

• Michael Raymond Doyle, 50, of Washington, who is charged with eluding police and intentionally damaging a dwelling after he ended a high-speed pursuit by police Dec. 11 by driving a pickup truck into an unoccupied house on U.S. 211. Doyle, who remains at RSW Jail, pleaded guilty in district court March 3 to DWI and driving a vehicle without a court-ordered breath-interlock device.

• Christopher Hitt, 27, and William Douglas Smith, 24, both of Madison, are accused of grand larceny, and Smith faces an additional breaking and entering charge, in connection with the theft of yard equipment from the Boston home of Sandra Hudson in 2013. Hitt is in custody on similar charges in Prince William County.

• Moses Jones, 49, of Strasburg, is accused of forging a public document. Court records say Jones signed his brother’s name on a summons in 2011; after a motor vehicle department notice of automatic unpaid-summons license suspension was received by his brother, who was unaware of the alleged forgery, State Trooper Phillip Thomas showed his dashboard video to the brother, who identified the driver as Moses Jones.

• Seung Nam Baek, 55, of Annandale, is accused of two counts of forging a public document, after allegedly signing a false name to two traffic-related summonses.

• James Merica of Shenandoah is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Joshua Plum, also of Shenandoah, is accused of selling or giving a firearm to a convicted felon (Merica). The two were apprehended Jan. 2 by RCSO Deputy C. Koglin, who was responding to reports of possible “road-hunting” on Thornton Gap Church Road in Sperryville.

• Skkyie Williams, 20, of Culpeper, is charged with possession of heroin, after Conservation Police Officer Owen Bullard last June 7 investigated a pickup truck that was partially parked in the Thornton River near Rock Mills, where Williams and her friends were apparently swimming. The drugs and paraphernalia were allegedly found in Williams’ backpack.

District Court

In District Court on Tuesday (March 10), Richard Brian Lowe Jr. of Amissville pleaded guilty to nine charges stemming from a traffic stop last Nov. 22 by Deputy Shawn Walters, during which Lowe fled on foot from his vehicle. Lowe was sentenced by Judge J. Gregory Ashwell to 180 days in jail, 160 of which were suspended, for possession of a controlled substance. Lowe was also fined $250 for the misdemeanor eluding police offense; fines for the other seven offenses, ranging from driving with a suspended or revoked license, speeding and operating an uninsured vehicle to driving with an open container of alcohol, totaled nearly $1,000.

Sheriff’s report

Following an investigation by RCSO Deputy W.C. Ubben, Richard Leon Grayson Yates, 35, of Warrenton, was arrested Feb. 26 and charged with hit and run, reckless driving and driving after his operator’s license has been revoked. His hearing in district court is April 14.

On March 3, Deputy C. Currence arrested 62-year-old Glenn Wayne Lear of Amissville, charging him with brandishing a firearm and assault and battery at a home on South Poes Road.

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 539 Articles

Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.