Driving offenses took center stage during a quick session of Rappahannock County Circuit Court Friday morning (March 28), as one defendant pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) and another was granted a restricted permit.
Though his case was originally scheduled for a trial, Washington resident Phillip Keith Butler pleaded guilty to the DUI charge — his third offense in five years and subsequently a felony.
Summarizing evidence for the court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Smoot observed the 52-year-old Butler’s car stalled in a turn lane between U.S. 211 and Viewtown Road last July 18.
Goff said Smoot observed Butler attempting to blow into an ignition interlock system installed on his car — a device issued by the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) that prompts drivers to register random breath samples before the vehicle can be started. Goff said Smoot also noticed “heavy vegetation” clinging to the car, and subsequently issued Butler four field sobriety tests, all of which he failed.
Blood work, Goff added, later revealed a combination of prescription medication in Butler’s system which would have “slowed down his reaction time” and impaired his driving ability.
As part of a plea agreement, Goff will be seeking five years in jail (57 months suspended), two years of supervised probation and an indefinite suspension of Butler’s license. His sentencing is scheduled for June 16.
The other case involved Gregory William Dodson, who was seeking a restored license. Goff objected to a full restoration, however, and instead requested that Judge Herman A. Whisenant issue a restricted license with several stipulations attached.
First, Goff requested that Dodson’s vehicle be equipped with a video ignition interlock system that would record who blew into the machine and started the vehicle. Goff also requested that Dodson attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings for one year, and that his sponsor be allowed to talk to ASAP and monitor his progress there.
“We’re here today to try and get Mr. Dodson back onto the road,” defense attorney Frank Reynolds told Whisenant, “so we have no objections to this.” Whisenant issued Dodson a restricted license per Goff’s requests.
On March 20, Deputy C. Koglin attempted to serve an outstanding arrest warrant on 31-year-old Johnny Neal Deane of Boston. Deane attempted to flee on foot, but was apprehended and charged with resisting arrest.
A week later, Sgt. R. Dodson arrested Howard Reed Massey II, 56, of Amissville, and charged him with DUI. Massey’s arrest came as a result of a traffic stop on Viewtown Road on March 28.
That same day, Deputy M. Dodson responded to an suspicious vehicle complaint in a driveway on Crest Hill Road and arrested the driver, 61-year-old Howard Clayton Jones of Flint Hill. Jones was also charged with DUI, resisting arrest and a felony charge of assault and battery against a law enforcement officer.