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Point, Counterpoint: attorneys debate plea agreement dynamics, impacts in County Fire Truck accident traffic case

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Made aware of a peripherally involved party’s attorney’s issue with a plea deal negotiated by the Warren County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office in the traffic court case involving a Warren County Fire & Rescue fire truck, Royal Examiner first contacted that attorney Demetry Pikrallidas. The Fairfax-based Pikrallidas represents Front Royal-based Kevin Velasquez. Velasquez, 24, was badly injured in the November 11, 2021, accident involving that fire truck driven by 25-year-old volunteer firefighter Conor Wright.

On Wednesday, March 16, the Commonwealth, represented by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Neal Knudsen, entered into a plea agreement with Wright and his counsel in which an original Class 1 Misdemeanor charge of Reckless Driving was reduced to the lesser charge of Improper Driving. Wright was allowed to enter a “not guilty” plea but accept a guilty finding in the case without going to trial. Warren County General District Court Judge W. Dale Houff accepted the agreement over the objection of Velasquez’s attorney.

Wright was fined $500, with $100 suspended, and ordered to pay court costs reduced to $74 by the avoidance of a trial. On the originally issued Reckless Driving misdemeanor charge filed in the wake of a Virginia State Police investigation of the accident, Wright had faced a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail. But it was not Wright’s reduced penalty on the traffic violation that angered Velasquez’s attorney. Rather, it was what Pikrallidas sees as a lack of interest by the Commonwealth in his client’s interest in the resolution of the traffic case in an accident in which that client was seriously injured.

Damage to the 2013 Toyota Takoma pickup truck driven by Kevin Velasquez after November 2021 collision with County fire truck described at a weight of 33,700 pounds. Courtesy Photos WC Commonwealth Attorney’s Office/VSP


Contacted by phone Friday, March 18, Pikrallidas estimated his client’s medical costs as approaching $100,000. And while he said his client was insured, fault and insurance liability for the accident is likely to be one primary issue in a pending civil suit Pikrallidas says his client will file because of damages suffered as a result of the accident. In addition to the still-rising medical expenses – Velasquez continues to receive physical therapy for a badly injured leg, his attorney said – his client lost 110 days of wages from work missed as he recovered from his injuries. According to the Va. State Police accident report, the collision occurred when Velasquez’s 2013 Toyota Takoma pickup truck and the 33,700-pound fire engine driven by Wright collided after the fire truck crossed the centerline to avoid rear-ending a vehicle stopped to make a left turn. Pikrallidas noted it took emergency responders a half hour to extricate his client from his vehicle. Velasquez was Medivaced by helicopter from the scene to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for treatment for his injuries, which while deemed non-life-threatening, were serious, his attorney pointed out.

Contacted, Warren County Fire & Rescue reported that the three involved firefighters were transported to the local hospital for examination and/or treatment of minor injuries. All have returned to active duty, Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico told Royal Examiner. Wright was placed on “restricted driving status” and the leadership of Front Royal Company One and the Warren County Department of Fire & Rescue will review the relevant court findings to determine Wright’s status moving forward.

One primary issue for Pikrallidas is that the plea agreement allowing Wright’s non-guilty plea to the lesser charge could weaken his and his client’s position in the coming civil liability litigation. “I’ve never heard of a plea like this,” Pikrallidas told Royal Examiner. And he noted that when he tried to address the court to explain his objection to the plea agreement, Knudsen objected to his being allowed comment as attorney for a non-involved party in the traffic violation prosecution. Judge Houff ruled for the Commonwealth, the judge citing a desire not to create a precedent of allowing third-parties in Commonwealth-prosecuted traffic cases to testify. Pikrallidas said he noted his client was a potential witness at trial, as well as a victim as an injured party in the accident resulting from the traffic violation case before the court. However, Knudsen countered to the court that “statutorily” Velasquez was not technically a victim in a traffic citation case between the Commonwealth and defendant.

Contacted about that exchange, Knudsen agreed that Velasquez was a “victim in the ordinary sense of the word”. However, referencing Va. Code 19.2-11.01 where “victim” is defined legally, the prosecutor stood by his courtroom assertion. An examination of the lengthy code titled “Crime Victim and Witness Rights” by this non-attorney seemed to indicate that “victim” was viewed in the sense of being victimized by an intentional felony offense act, as opposed to an unintended consequence of a misdemeanor act such as a traffic offense.

From his Fairfax office during our late afternoon March 18th phone conversation, Pikrallidas said that to his mind the lack of interest in his client related to potential testimony at trial or a plea resolution in the case, raised the issue of a potential conflict of interest by the Warren County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. That conflict would stem from the defendant’s position as a volunteer member of a County department, Fire & Rescue, in a case prosecuted by the county’s Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

Contacted in his office Monday, March 21, Commonwealth Attorney John Bell responded to Pikrallidas’ conflict of interest and other concerns, which the two discussed March 16, prior to the agreement being entered in court. “I will say that protecting the Fire Department was absolutely no consideration in any plea negotiations that went on with this. I asked Knudsen particularly about this when it came up. He said the only time he even talked to anybody from the County was to see about getting a copy of the mechanical evaluation of the fire truck to make sure there wasn’t a mechanical failure that caused this accident; and also to see about the fire chief coming to testify if we needed him to introduce the mechanical evaluation.”

Information accumulated from the State Police accident investigation indicated that volunteer firefighter Wright was driving eastbound on Strasburg Road (Rt. 55 West) with two paid firefighters aboard as the trio returned from a fire call. Velasquez was traveling westbound, returning borrowed furniture to a friend according to his attorney. According to the original Va. State Police press release on the accident the fire engine “swerved to avoid hitting a stopped eastbound vehicle that was attempting a left turn.” That swerve took the fire truck across the center line of the two-lane road where the collision with Velasquez’s westbound 2013 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck occurred. The DMV crash report had the fire truck traveling at 55 mph in a 45 mph zone, VSP noted.

Damage to the side of the fire truck from the collision with Velasquez’s vehicle.

But Pikrallidas asserts he had expert witness testimony that would have been available in the traffic case had it gone to trial that would indicate the fire truck was traveling at 70 mph prior to recorded hard braking as the accident occurred. We asked both Commonwealth Attorney Bell and Assistant C.A. Knudsen about this proposed evidence indicative of perhaps reckless, as opposed to improper, driving.

“Well, Mr. Pikrallidas sent what appeared to be an analysis of the “black box” of the fire truck, which we got the day of the trial that was not available to us via the state police,” Bell began, adding, “The state police is our chief investigative agency. And the state police officer did a thorough job on the scene, reviewing the crash, taking appropriate photographs, and doing interviews. But what we did not have was any further expert (evidence). And I will say that we are limited in the criminal (traffic) case in terms of introducing accident reconstruction evidence. It’s not banned, but it’s a line you’ve got to walk very carefully,” Bell observed.

As to the reduced charge offered in the plea agreement, the commonwealth attorney explained that “a reckless driving charge is technically a misdemeanor. An officer cannot charge improper driving. It’s a lesser included offense that a court or prosecutor can reduce the charge to … As I said, Knudsen was the one that made the call between a plea to reckless or a plea to improper on this one. And he was the one who had all the information on the case. He made an offer to the defense, which the defense accepted, and I’m not going to second guess that.”

As to Pikrallidas’ concerns about the plea agreement potentially making his client’s position weaker in a civil liability case, Bell said rather than favoring either side in a potential civil trial, he views the plea agreement as neutral to both parties. All of the evidence that could have been introduced in the traffic case, including Pikrallidas’ late-arriving expert evidence on speed, will be available to be introduced in a civil case to argue liability, Bell pointed out.

Asked for additional detail on the timing of the plea offer, Bell referred us to his assistant prosecutor Knudsen, who was not available mid-afternoon that Monday. Contacted by email Tuesday, March 22, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Neal Knudsen responded to our inquiry into the dynamics of the traffic case and plea agreement.

Knudsen told us he received the “expert witness” speed analysis from Pikrallidas at 12:25 p.m. on March 16, the day the trial/plea offer was scheduled at 2:45 p.m. He said the plea agreement was offered late the previous morning and accepted by Wright’s counsel Margarita Wood that day after a confirmation call with her client. Discussing the case’s resolution with us the previous day, Commonwealth Attorney Bell noted that plea agreements once offered and accepted are generally viewed almost at the level of contracts between parties, and not easily rescinded.

Knudsen also noted that the “expert” speed analysis report from a Powhatan-based “forensic collision reconstruction” firm Accident Technology Inc. (ATI) sent to Pikrallidas was dated March 16, indicating Velasquez’s attorney also received it the day the trial had been scheduled.

As to the lesser charge being offered in the plea agreement, Knudsen told Royal Examiner: “The reckless driving charge was entirely appropriate at the time it was brought, based upon the information available at the time of the accident. As we gathered evidence, I had a question in my mind about whether the Commonwealth would be able to prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In the absence of a typical reckless driving cause such as texting while driving, erratic driving in and out of traffic, a positive alcohol or drug test on the driver, or excessively high speed – at the time the plea was offered the prosecution had only VDOT’s estimate of a 55 mph involved speed – Knudsen chose caution in offering the plea.

“Having reviewed the available evidence, I had different theories as to what might have caused the vehicle to swerve into the other lane. The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that ‘when the Commonwealth’s evidence leaves much to speculation and conjecture as to what caused defendant to lose control of the car’ the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction of reckless driving within the meaning of the statute,” Knudsen observed, adding, “In the same opinion the Court ruled that the happening of an accident ‘does not give rise to an inference’ of reckless driving …”

Pikrallidas noted the Commonwealth negotiated the plea agreement without any communication with him or his client. In fact, Pikrallidas said he was notified by an involved third party about the plea deal at 4:06 p.m. the day before the trial was scheduled for 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 16. And with plea agreements often being heard prior to scheduled trial times, Pikrallidas said it was very possible he could have missed the entering of the plea deal the next day.

Commonwealth Attorney Bell said that in the wake of his communication with Pikrallidas the morning of the traffic case plea submission, he said he would see that the case and plea agreement offer was called at the 2:45 p.m. scheduled time the trial would have begun to facilitate Velasquez’s attorney’s attendance. Bell did offer that perhaps one constructive lesson learned from Pikrallidas’ concerns in this case, is for his department to reach out more to peripherally involved parties in similar cases, particularly ones who could be prosecution witnesses, as movement towards a trial or plea agreement proceed.

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Crime/Court

Warren County Grand Jury of September 12, 2022 indictments

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The Warren County Grand Jury of September, 2022, has issued the following indictments:

THE GRAND JURY CHARGES THAT:

DANIELLE HISERMAN

On or about January 10, 2022, through April 7, 2022, in the County of Warren, Danielle Dawn Hiserman did unlawfully and feloniously wrongfully and fraudulently’ use, dispose of, conceal, or embezzle property, having a value of $1000.00 or more, which she received by virtue of her office, task, or employment, belonging to Skyline Insurance, in violation of §18.2-111 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: LAR-2707-F9


DAKOTA BRANTLEY

On or about May 30, 2022, in the County of Warren, Dakota Lee Robert Brantley did unlawfully and feloniously impede the blood circulation or respiration of Katrina Elizabeth Schmude without such person’s consent by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck of a such person resulting in wounding or bodily injury, in violation of § 18.2- 51.6 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: ASL-1347-F6

 

BOBBY HENDERSON

COUNT ONE: On or about May 28, 2022, the County of Warren, Bobby Neal Henderson, II, did unlawfully and feloniously violate a provision of Section 16.1-253.1 by making contact prohibited in such order with a family or household member. The accused had previously committed two or more offenses of violating a protective order. The accused committed the instant offense within twenty years of the first conviction. Either the instant or one of the prior offenses was based on an act or threat of violence, in violation of Section 16.1-253.2 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: PRT-5002-F6

COUNT TWO: On or about May 30, 2022, the County of Warren, Bobby Neal Henderson, II, did unlawfully and feloniously violate a provision of Section 16.1-253.1 by making contact prohibited in such order with a family or household member. The accused had previously committed two or more offenses of violating a protective order. The accused committed the instant offense within twenty years of the first conviction. Either the instant or one of the prior offenses was based on an act or threat of violence, in violation of Section 16.1-253.2 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: PRT-5002-F6

COUNT THREE: On or about May 31, 2022, the County of Warren, Bobby Neal Henderson, II, did unlawfully and feloniously violate a provision of Section 16.1-253.1 by making contact prohibited in such order with a family or household member. The accused had previously committed two or more offenses of violating a protective order. The accused committed the instant offense within twenty years of the first conviction. Either the instant or one of the prior offenses was based on an act or threat of violence, in violation of Section 16.1-253.2 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: PRT-5002-F6

COUNT FOUR: On or about June 2, 2022, the County of Warren, Bobby Neal Henderson, II, did unlawfully and feloniously violate a provision of Section 16.1-253.1 by making contact prohibited in such order with a family or household member. The accused had previously committed two or more offenses of violating a protective order. The accused committed the instant offense within twenty years of the first conviction. Either the instant or one of the prior offenses was based on an act or threat of violence, in violation of Section 16.1-253.2 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: PRT-5002-F6

COUNT FIVE: On or about June 3, 2022, the County of Warren, Bobby Neal Henderson, II, did unlawfully and feloniously violate a provision of Section 16.1-253.1 by making contact prohibited in such order with a family or household member. The accused had previously committed two or more offenses of violating a protective order. The accused committed the instant offense within twenty years of the first conviction. Either the instant or one of the prior offenses was based on an act or threat of violence, in violation of Section 16.1-253.2 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: PRT-5002-F6

On or about April 24, 2022, in the County of Warren, Bobby Neal Henderson, II, did unlawfully and feloniously, while having been the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident in which an attended vehicle or other attended property was damaged, fail to immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible without obstructing traffic. The accident damaged property valued at $1,000.00 or more, violating Section 46.2-894 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: HIT-6604-F5

 

JASHAR ASHBY

On or about May 24, 2022, in the County of Warren, Jashar Raequon Ashby did unlawfully and feloniously impede the blood circulation or respiration of Sierra Ashby without such person’s
consent by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck of a such person resulting in wounding or bodily injury, in violation of § 18.2-51.6 of the Code of Virginia, 1950,
as amended. VCC: ASL-1347-F6

 

CHRISTOPHER FLYNN

On or about January 20, 2022, in the County of Warren, Christopher Dewayne Flynn did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Methamphetamine listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

On or about June 21, 2022, in the County of Warren, Christopher Dewayne Flynn did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Methamphetamine listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

DEVIN SAMUEL

On or about April 12, 2022, in the County of Warren, Devin Cenard Samuel did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Methamphetamine listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

KIARA ROY

On or about March 22, 2021, in the County of Warren, Kiara Shaquelle Roy did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Cocaine listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

DEVAN JENKINS

On or about February 23, 2022, in the County of Warren, Devan Rochelle Jenkins did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

KRISTA BURGESS

On or about January 11, 2020, in the County of Warren, Krista Diane Burgess did unlawfully and feloniously forge a public record, or a certificate, return, or attestation of a public official or employee, in relation to a matter in which such certificate, return or attestation may be received as legal proof, or utter, or attempt to employ as true, such forged record, certificate, return, or attestation, knowing the same to be forged, in violation of §18.2-168 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: FRD-2519-F4

 

VINCENT BAILEY

On or about April 12, 2022, in the County of Warren, Vincent Anthony Bailey did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

DARRIN HEFLIN

On or about June 26, 2022, in the County of Warren, Darrin Scott Heflin did unlawfully and feloniously steal a catalytic converter, having a value of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or more, belonging to Front Royal Ford, in violation of §18.2-95 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: LAR-2359-F9

 

KARL DAVIS

On or about April 6, 2022, in the County of Warren, Karl Forrest Davis did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Methamphetamine listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

CHARLES DAVIS

On or about June 26, 2022, in the County of Warren, Charles William Davis, II, did unlawfully and feloniously conspire to steal a catalytic converter, having a value of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or more, belonging to Front Royal Ford, in violation of §18.2-95 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: LAR-2359-C9

 

CAL KILBY

COUNT ONE: On or about March 9, 2022, in the County of Warren, Cal Byren Kilby did unlawfully and feloniously possess with the intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance, to-wit:
Fentanyl, in violation of Section 18.2-248 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3043-F9

COUNT TWO: On or about March 9, 2022, in the County of Warren, Cal Byren Kilby did unlawfully and feloniously possess with the intent to distribute a Schedule IV controlled substance, to-wit:
Tramadol, in violation of Section 18.2-248 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3136-F6

COUNT THREE: On or about March 9, 2022, in the County of Warren, Cal Byren Kilby did unlawfully and feloniously possess with the intent to distribute a Schedule VI controlled substance, to-wit: Xylazine, in violation of Section 18.2-248 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3059-M1

 

KENNETH HALSEY

On or about February 2, 2022, in the County of Warren, Kenneth Bradley Halsey did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of Section 18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

COUNT ONE: On or about March 7, 2022, in the County of Warren, Kenneth Bradley Halsey did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2- 250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

COUNT TWO: On or about March 7, 2022, in the County of Warren, Kenneth Bradley Halsey did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Para-fluorofentanyl listed in Schedule I of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

 

CYRUS FIEL

COUNT ONE: On or about February 21, 2020, in the County of Warren, Cyrus Bartholomew Fiel did unlawfully and feloniously possess with the intent to distribute a Schedule I controlled substance, to-wit: 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), having previously been convicted of two or more such offenses or of substantially similar offenses in any other jurisdiction which occurred before the date of the offense alleged in the indictment, in violation of Section 18.2-248 (c), of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3087-F9

COUNT TWO: On or about February 21, 2020, in the County of Warren, Cyrus Bartholomew Fiel did unlawfully and feloniously possess with the intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance, to-wit: Cocaine, having previously been convicted of two or more such offenses or of substantially similar offenses in any other jurisdiction which occurred before the date of the offense alleged in the indictment, in violation of Section 18.2-248(c), of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.

COUNT THREE: On or about February 21, 2020, in the County of Warren, Cyrus Bartholomew Fiel did unlawfully and feloniously possess with the intent to distribute a Schedule I controlled
substance, to-wit: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), having previously been convicted of two or more such offenses or of substantially similar offenses in any other jurisdiction which occurred before the date of the offense alleged in the indictment, in violation of Section 18.2-248(c) of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3087-F9

 

JOSEPH DODSON

On or about March 11, 2022, in the County of Warren, Joseph Alan Dodson did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

On or about March 22, 2022, in the County of Warren, Joseph Alan Dodson did unlawfully and feloniously manufacture, sell, give, distribute or possess with the intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance, to-wit: Methamphetamine Hydrochloride classified in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of § 18.2-248 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3043-F9

 

ASHLEY STELMACH

COUNT ONE: On or about December 12, 2021, in the County of Warren, Ashley Nichole Stelmach did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of § 18.2- 250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

COUNT TWO: On or about December 12, 2021, in the County of Warren, Ashley Nichole Stelmach did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Para-Flourofentanyl listed in Schedule I of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

On or about April 30, 2022, in the County of Warren, Ashley Nichole Stelmach did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

 

DON BAILEY

On or about March 9, 2022, in the County of Warren, Don Waverly Bailey did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Methamphetamine listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

On or about July 5, 2022, in the County of Warren, Don Waverly Bailey did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

JORDAN EURY

On or about July 10, 2021, in the County of Warren, Jordan Marquis Eury did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

On or about October 31, 2021, in the County of Warren, Jordan Marquis Eury did unlawfully and feloniously break and enter or enter in the daytime the dwelling house or an adjoining occupied building or Michelle Eury, with the intent to commit larceny, assault, and battery or any felony other than murder, rape, robbery, or arson in violation of Section 18.2-91 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: BUR-2213-F9

On or about May 9, 2022, in the County of Warren, Jordan Marquis Eury did unlawfully and feloniously steal a motor vehicle, having a value of one thousand dollars ($ 1,000.00) or more, belonging to Sharon Henry, in violation of § 18.2-95 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: LAR-2404-F9

 

DEVIN MIALES

COUNT ONE: On or about April 16, 2022, in the County of Warren, Devin Ollandes Miales, did unlawfully and feloniously distribute a Schedule I or II controlled substance, in violation of Section 18.2-248 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3045-F9

COUNT TWO: On or about April 16, 2022, in the County of Warren, Devin Ollandes Miales did unlawfully and feloniously, having received a visible or audible signal from a lawenforcement officer to bring his/her motor vehicle to a stop, drive a such motor vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard of such signal to interfere with or endanger the operation of the lawenforcement vehicle or endanger a person, in violation of §46.2-817(B) of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: REC-6624-F6

COUNT THREE: On or about April 16, 2022, in the County of Warren, Devin Ollandes Miales did unlawfully and feloniously knowingly and intentionally possess or transport a firearm after having been convicted of a violent felony as defined in Section 17.1-805, in violation of Section 18.2-308.2 of the Code of Virginia (1950) as amended. VCC: WPN-5296-F6

COUNT FOUR: On or about April 16, 2022, in the County of Warren, Devin Ollandes Miales did unlawfully and feloniously while being a parent or guardian for D.M., or person responsible for the care of D.M. (Twin child 1), a child then under the age of eighteen years, commit a willful act or omission in the care of a said child which was so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, in violation of §18.2-371.1(B) of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: FAM-3808-F6

COUNT FIVE: On or about April 16, 2022, in the County of Warren, Devin Ollandes Miales did unlawfully and feloniously while being a parent or guardian for D.M., or person responsible for the care of D.M. (Twin child 2), a child then under the age of eighteen years, commit a willful act or omission in the care of a said child which was so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, in violation of §18.2-371.1(B) of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: FAM-3808-F6

 

MICHAEL BARR

On or about April 4, 2022, in the County of Warren, Michael Kelley Barr did unlawfully and feloniously did impede the blood circulation or respiration of Charlotte Harris without such person’s consent by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck of a such person resulting in wounding or bodily injury, in violation of § 18.2-51.6 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: ASL-1347-F6

 

SUMMIE SHEREEF

On or about July 1, 2021, through June 14, 2022, in the County of Warren, Summie Ullah Shereef unlawfully and feloniously, while being the stepparent of the victim, commit aggravated sexual battery by sexually abusing R.F., who was thirteen (13) years of age but less than eighteen (18) years of age, in violation of Section 18.2-67.3 of the Code of Virginia (1950) as amended. VCC: RAP-1148-F9

 

THERESA GILL

COUNT ONE: On or about July 8, 2022, in the County of Warren, Theresa Ann Gill did unlawfully and feloniously knowingly and intentionally possess or transport ammunition for a firearm, as defined in subsection D of Section 18.2-308.2, after having been convicted of a felony, in violation of Section 18.2-308.2 of the Code of Virginia (1950) as amended. VCC: WPN-5298-F6

COUNT TWO: On or about July 8, 2022, in the County of Warren, Theresa Ann Gill did unlawfully and feloniously and unlawfully, feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess or transport a firearm after having previously been convicted of a non-violent felony within the prior ten (10) years, in violation of §18.2-308.2 of the Code of Virginia. VCC: WPN-5297-F6

 

JAMES BYRD

On or about May 11, 2022, in the County of Warren, James Robert Byrd, II, did unlawfully and feloniously impede the blood circulation or respiration of T.O., a person under 18 (eighteen) years of age, without such person’s consent by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck of a such person resulting in wounding or bodily injury, in violation of § 18.2- 51.6 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: ASL-1347-F6

 

RACHEL LANGLAIS

On or about March 9, 2022, in the County of Warren, Rachel Jean Langlais did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Methamphetamine listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of § 18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

FRANKIE ANDREWS

COUNT ONE: On or about April 7, 2022, in the County of Warren, Frankie Rose Andrews did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Para-Fluorofentanyl, listed in Schedule I of the Drug Control Act, in violation of § 18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

COUNT TWO: On or about April 7, 2022, in the County of Warren, Frankie Rose Andrews did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2- 250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

On or about May 20, 2022, in the County of Warren, Frankie Rose Andrews did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

MATTHEW JENKINS

On or about April 5, 2022, in the County of Warren, Matthew Wilson Jenkins did unlawfully and feloniously, knowingly, and intentionally possess a controlled substance, to-wit: Fentanyl, listed in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act, in violation of §18.2-250 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: NAR-3022-F5

 

VALERIE CHANDLER

On or about May 31, 2022, in the County of Warren, Valerie Rose Chandler did unlawfully and feloniously, while having the custody of B.K. (age four years) a child willfully or negligently cause or permit the life of a such child to be endangered, or the health of such child to be injured, or willfully or negligently to cause or permit such child to be placed in a situation that its life, health or morals may be endangered, in violation of §40.1 -103 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. VCC: FAM-3810-F6

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Crime/Court

Smithfield, VA man arrested for soliciting underage victims in Front Royal

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On Thursday, April 28, 2022, Front Royal Police detectives initiated an investigation regarding soliciting minors in the Warren County/Front Royal area. Detectives started a proactive
approach to apprehend individuals soliciting underage victims for sexual purposes. An undercover operation ensued, and an adult male began soliciting one of our detectives, who he believed to be a female under the age of 15 years old, for photographs and sexually explicit material. The adult male suspect sent sexually explicit materials to the detective, posing as a juvenile in an undercover capacity. The initial conversation was unsolicited and started by the offender in this case.

During this investigation, police identified the suspect as 28-year-old Smithfield, Virginia resident Sean Kreinsen. On September 16, 2022, Kreinsen was arrested and transported to the Western Tidewater Regional Jail. Kreinsen went before the magistrate and was ordered to be held without bond. The court date for the listed offenses has been set for October 13, 2022, at 09:00 a.m. in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Name: Sean Kreinsen
Description: 5’09” white male, brown eyes, and black hair
Address: Smithfield, VA
Offenses: § 18.2-374.3. Use of communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children. (x3)

The Front Royal Police Department is an active member of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro (NOVA/DC) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is coordinated by the Virginia State Police. We request anyone with information regarding the solicitation or exploitation of a minor to contact Front Royal Police Department. Anyone with further information regarding this case please contact Detective M.R. Ramey at (540) 636-2208 or by email at mramey@frontroyalva.com.


The Front Royal Police Department would like to thank the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in the apprehension of this individual.

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Six arrests in forged gaming ticket scam announced by FRPD

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During the months of August and September, the Front Royal Police Department received several complaints from local businesses regarding the forging and uttering of fraudulent gaming tickets. A preliminary investigation revealed that several individuals were responsible for either fabricating or altering winning gaming tickets printed from electronic betting machines. These fraudulent tickets were then passed at several businesses with electronic gaming machines in exchange for cash- typically, hundreds of dollars’ worth per ticket. After an extensive investigation, a total of six individuals were identified and have been arrested in connection with these crimes.

The names, photographs, and pending charges of those arrested have been listed below. This investigation is currently ongoing with additional arrests pending.

Anyone with further information regarding this case is asked to please contact Detective Corporal J.E. Fenton at (540) 636-2208, or by email at jfenton@frontroyalva.com.

Gary Roland Fairfax of Front Royal, VA.
Offenses: § 18.2-171 Possess forging instruments, § 18.2-172 Forgery and uttering (x3), § 18.2-250 Possession of Sch I/II drug, § 18.2-22 Conspiracy to commit felony

Front Royal Virginia

Diane Garber of Front Royal, VA.
Offenses: § 18.2-172 Forgery and uttering, § 18.2-178 Obtaining money by false pretense

Ralph Crouse Jr. of Front Royal, VA.
Offenses:
§ 18.2-172 Forgery and uttering (x3), § 18.2-178 Obtaining money by false pretense (x2), § 58.1-4017 Forge, alter, make, ticket w/ intent to present for payment (x3)

Jessica Nicole Shell of Front Royal, VA.
Offenses:
§ 18.2-172 Forgery and uttering, § 18.2-178 Obtain money by false pretense

Rafael Llera of Front Royal, VA.
Offenses:
§ 18.2-172 Forgery and uttering

Matthew T Huff of Front Royal, VA. (no photograph available)
Offenses: § 18.2-178 Obtain money by false pretense, § 18.2-96 Petit Larceny


All photographs provided courtesy of RSW Regional Jail.

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Skeletal remains found in suspicious circumstance identified as Shannon Lee Fox

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On August 26, 2022, the Chief Medical Examiner’s office positively identified the skeletal remains of Shannon Lee Fox.

On August 3rd, 2022, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, located human skeletal remains that were believed to be those of Shannon Lee Fox, age 30, of Winchester, VA. The skeletal remains were over an embankment in an area on Feltner Road in Bluemont, Virginia.

Shannon Fox was reported missing by a friend on March 1, 2022, after she had not been heard from since February 23, 2022. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office searched numerous areas of Frederick County since Ms. Fox was reported missing.

Sheriff Lenny Millholland stated that “We were all saddened by the fact Shannon was found deceased and that her body had basically been dumped over an embankment to hide her from being located. Our Investigators spent many days and nights searching leads, information, and areas in and around Frederick County. We basically left no stone unturned in trying to find this young lady.”


The investigation of this case continues. Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office at 540-662-6162 or 540-662-6168 and ask for Investigator Travis Adamson

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Ressie Jeffries Elementary School placed in lockdown

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Late in the school day on August 22, 2022, the Ressie Jeffries Elementary School was placed on lockdown while Front Royal Police Department and Warren County Sheriff’s Office tracked an individual that had an altercation in the proximity of Rural King and allegedly displayed a handgun. The white male, wearing grey sweatpants, was last seen running towards Criser Road; out of an abundance of caution for student and staff safety, Ressie Jeffries Elementary was placed on lockdown due to the proximity and nature of the incident.

Warren County Sheriff’s Office tracking canine (K9) followed the suspect, and the track indicated he had entered Samuel’s Public Library. The library was searched by Law Enforcement, and the suspect was not found to be inside. The canine (K9) then picked up the track, which led out of the area, and away from the school and library. Once the school was secure, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Ressie Jeffries Elementary School Administration’s efforts to safely release students to their parents.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for their assistance and especially thank the administration and staff at Ressie Jeffries Elementary, along with the parents of the students, for the way they responded and cooperated with authorities.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Front Royal Police Department, and Warren County Fire and Rescue Services recently completed joint training with the Warren County School Senior Leadership, where such a coordinated response was discussed. Major Jeffrey Driskill Sr. described this ongoing collaboration as being very successful and wanted to thank School Superintendent Dr. Chris Ballenger and his staff for emphasizing school safety.


Major Driskill also wants to recognize the staff at the Samuels Public Library for their cooperation during this incident. The Samuels Public Library has become very active with the Sheriff’s Office this year. The public should feel comforted that they are also involved with higher-level emergency management planning in conjunction with the Warren County Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC).

Any information about the initial incident involving the alleged suspect should be referred to the Front Royal Police Department at 540 635-2111.

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Front Royal Police respond to brandishing incident at Royal Plaza

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On August 22, 2022, at approximately 2:07 p.m. Front Royal Police Department officers responded to the Royal Plaza Shopping Center, located on South Street, for a report of a white male brandishing a firearm. Witnesses in the area advised that a group of people was attempting to fight when one of the individuals pulled out a light tan gun.

When this incident occurred, an off-duty Front Royal police officer was alerted of the altercation while in Fitness Evolution. The off-duty officer ran in the suspect’s direction but could not locate him. The suspect ran south on the walking trail behind Fitness Evolution and Rural King heading towards East Criser Road.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer was called to assist in tracking the alleged suspect, while additional calls were made to lock-down Ressie Jeffries Elementary School and Samuels Public Library. The K-9 was able to track the suspect into the wooded area in the Shenandoah
National Park. The suspect is described as being a white male with short brown hair, wearing gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt. The suspect did not have any shoes on.

Anyone with information regarding this case should not hesitate to contact the Front Royal Police Department at (540) 635-2111.


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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

St. Luke Community Clinic

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Sep
30
Fri
4:30 pm Fall Bazaar @ FRUMC Fellowship Hall
Fall Bazaar @ FRUMC Fellowship Hall
Sep 30 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Fall Bazaar @ FRUMC Fellowship Hall
Fall Bazaar will be held Friday, Sept 30th, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, and Saturday, October 1st, from 8 am – 2 pm, in the Front Royal United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. Baked goods, jewelry[...]
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Sep 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
 
Oct
1
Sat
8:00 am Fall Bazaar @ FRUMC Fellowship Hall
Fall Bazaar @ FRUMC Fellowship Hall
Oct 1 @ 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Fall Bazaar @ FRUMC Fellowship Hall
Fall Bazaar will be held Saturday, October 1st, from 8 am – 2 pm, in the Front Royal United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. Baked goods, jewelry and accessories, Silent Auction, holiday decorations, and apple dumplings[...]
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sk... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sk... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 1 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. During Fall Farm Days’ Nature Weekend, get in touch with nature and explore a managed landscape rich in biodiversity. Discover native flora and fauna, learn the craft of beekeeping, the importance of various[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 1 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]
5:00 pm WATTS 3rd Annual Fundraiser @ Bowling Green Country Club North
WATTS 3rd Annual Fundraiser @ Bowling Green Country Club North
Oct 1 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
WATTS 3rd Annual Fundraiser @ Bowling Green Country Club North
WATTS 3rd Annual Fundraiser – An Evening of Caring & Sharing Come out to support WATTS homeless shelter (Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter) and help us fundraise for our upcoming overnight shelter season! A fun[...]
Oct
2
Sun
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sk... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sk... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 2 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. During Fall Farm Days’ Nature Weekend, get in touch with nature and explore a managed landscape rich in biodiversity. Discover native flora and fauna, learn the craft of beekeeping, the importance of various[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 2 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]
Oct
5
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 5 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]