Speeding one too many times can earn you jail time and a suspended driver’s license, a consequence discovered Tuesday (Dec. 13) by Amissville resident Forrest Richmond, 24, who was found guilty in a Rappahannock County District Court bench trial of reckless driving by speeding.
Richmond has appealed the decision to circuit court.
After holding up a copy of Richmond’s driving record showing several previous speeding violations (all at least 19 miles over the posted limit), Judge J. Gregory Ashwell sentenced Richmond to 30 days in jail, with 25 days suspended, and suspended his driver’s license for 90 days.
During the short trial, Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Dodson testified that he clocked Richmond driving 77 mph in a 35 mph zone on Viewtown Road just after midnight on Oct. 8. Dodson said there was no evidence of drug or alcohol use and that Richmond offered no excuse for speeding.
Richmond himself testified that he admitted to Dodson that he was speeding and told the court that, at the time, he was tired and eager to get home, about two miles away.
His attorney, Frank Reynolds, asked Richmond what he did for a living. “I’m an insurance agent,” answered Richmond. “A what?” asked Ashwell. When Richmond repeated, “an insurance agent,” Ashwell and several others in the courtroom laughed out loud.
Before pronouncing the sentence, Ashwell asked if Richmond had anything to say. Richmond said that ever since being charged, he has been diligent about his speed, using cruise control and “pulling back if I see I’m even one mile over the limit.” He asked the court not to suspend his license, saying, “I am on my own.” He previously testified that in his work he drives hundreds of miles a month going to his office in Gainesville and to clients’ homes.
Ashwell said. “I can’t ignore your actions. And you’re an insurance agent. Surely you know the impact to your insurance for speeding violations.”
Richmond appeared visibly shaken when his sentenced was pronounced.
A closer examination of Richmond’s driving record in Culpeper, Fauquier, Prince William and Rappahannock counties uncovered 22 traffic violations since January of 2010. The three other speeding violations were driving 54 mph in a 35 mph zone; driving 64 mph in a 45 mph zone, amended down from 68 mph in a 45 mph, which would have also brought a reckless driving charge; and driving 72 mph in a 55 mph zone.
According to the DMV website, each of his speeding violations carries four demerit points, adding a total of 12 to his driving record. Had the reckless driving charge not been amended down, the total points would have been 14.
Besides the speeding violations, Richmond was stopped seven times for failing to have a valid vehicle inspection or having an expired sticker; three times for defective equipment, not counting the two charges for improper exhaust; and two instances of failure to display or improper display of license plates. These infractions do not carry demerit points and can be prepaid without a court appearance.
Rock Mills resident David Konick was hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries last week after a single-vehicle accident on Rock Mills Road at about 11:30 a.m. Dec. 7.
Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. F. L. Tyler said Konick, at the wheel of a 1999 Toyota pickup, left the roadway as he headed north on Rock Mills, and struck a tree about six-tenths of a mile south of U.S. 211. State Trooper B. R. Johnson charged Konick with reckless driving/failure to maintain control.