Graves trial is Jan. 5, a year after Sperryville crash

Bryan Graves, facing charges of driving while intoxicated and causing maiming, a felony; and a second-time DWI offense, a misdemeanor, appeared in Rappahannock County Circuit Court last Thursday (Aug. 18) to set a trial date.

The jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 5, almost a year after Graves, 28, who is now living in Florida, was charged in connection with a two-car crash that seriously injured Sperryville resident Virginie Audrain. On Jan. 9 of this year, police say Graves’ vehicle crossed the centerline on northbound Route 231 and hit Audrain’s car head on.

Judge Herman A. Whisenant also set a $7,500 bond for Graves. At the request of Graves’s attorney, Kevin Smith, Graves he will be allowed to leave Virginia to return to his Florida residence. Graves was taken into custody until the bond could be posted.

Jail time in high-speed chase

Patrick Jacob Mesina Asis was sentenced to two months in jail after pleading guilty to a felony charge of eluding or disregarding police. On Sept. 7, 2015, the 38-year-old Brookville, Maryland resident, on his Kawasaki motorcycle, led State Trooper Phillip Thomas on a high-speed chase through Sperryville, on U.S. 211, Fodderstack Road, U.S. 522 and Route 729. On some parts of the chase, Thomas clocked Asis’s speed at over 140 mph.

At the sentencing hearing, Asis’s attorney, Ann Thayer, told the court that her client had “never been in trouble before this unfortunate incident.” She said that Asis has an excellent record at his place of employment, where he has been recognized for outstanding performance.

Thayer praised Asis for turning himself in voluntarily to the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office. “He lives in Maryland,” said Thayer. “Some in Maryland would not have come in.”

Acknowledging that eluding is a serious charge, she told the court that a felony would be on Asis’s record for life, and she suggested that probation with community service would be an appropriate sentence. “However, if he is sentenced to jail,” she said, “we request that he serve on weekends only,” so that he could continue to work.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff noted Thayer’s thoughtful defense of her client, but told the court that in his tenure in office, he has seen the number of high-speed chases increase in the county. “Yes, Mr. Asis came back, but his behavior speaks for itself. Of these [high-speed eluding] cases, no one has walked away with just probation,” said Goff. “The motoring public needs to know that action will be taken” against this kind of conduct, he said.

Before being sentenced, Asis apologized to the court and the people of Rappahannock County. “I’ll never do anything this crazy or stupid again,” he said.

Whisenant sentenced Asis to 12 months in jail, with 10 months suspended; two years of supervised probation; 90 days’ suspension of his license; and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. Thayer requested a delay in Asis’s reporting to jail. The judge denied that request, and the request that he be able to serve time on weekends, and Asis was taken into custody.

More drug and alcohol cases

Jacob Allen Whaley, 28, of Stafford, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of selling or distributing marijuana. According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 25, State Trooper B.R. Johnson “observed a single vehicle traveling eastbound [on Rt 211 in Rappahannock County] at a high rate of speed.”

When he stopped the vehicle, Johnson smelled marijuana. A search of Whaley’s car revealed a glass smoking device, “a bag containing a large bag of marijuana, approximately half a pound, crusher, scale, and plastic sandwich bags,” said the complaint.

He was sentenced to three years in the penitentiary, with two years and nine months suspended; and two years of supervised probation. His license was suspended for six months.

A trial date was set for Gregory William Dodson of Sperryville, charged with a third DWI offense in 10 years (a felony). On Jan. 21, State Trooper D.J. Mabie was dispatched to a motor vehicle collision on Route 231 south of Route 681. According to Mabie’s report, “the vehicle ran off the right side of the road, over-corrected, running off the left side of the roadway, through a wooden fence and overturning on its side.”

By the time Mabie arrived on the scene, Dodson had been removed from the vehicle and taken to UVA Culpeper Hospital by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. Mabie found several opened and unopened beer cans in the vehicle, which “had a strong odor of alcohol coming from it,” says the report.

Later at the hospital, Dodson told Mabie that he, Dodson, had drunk eight or nine beers before the accident, and two more while waiting inside his car for help to arrive.

In court, Dodson’s attorney, Frank Reynolds entered two motions to suppress results of Dodson’s breath and blood tests after the accident, arguing that because of numerous variables the tests would not accurately demonstrate Dodson’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident. Whisenant denied both motions saying that “the court has to hear the evidence and then decide.” A bench trial was scheduled for Nov. 14.

In circuit court on Monday (Aug. 22) a bench trial was set for Robert Christopher Lynn, 51, of Sperryville, charged with a second DWI charge. A second offense of refusing a blood or breath test was dropped earlier in district court. The bench trial is scheduled for Sept. 12.

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