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Motorists who paid abusive driver fines to be offered refunds

The Virginia Supreme Court will send letters this week to some of South Hampton Roads' worst drivers, offering them refunds for drunken- and reckless-driving fees. Some were convicted of eluding police during the commission of a crime, while others were caught behind the wheel after lower courts had already revoked their licenses and ordered them not to drive. At least 4,204 drivers convicted in the five cities as of the end of 2007 will be told the special fees they were once asked to pay are forgiven, according to the state Supreme Court. Those who have already paid hundreds of dollars of those extra fees will be getting refund checks.

Drunken Driving Fatalities Up In Virginia

Virginia police officers will be out in force looking to nab drunken drivers this Labor Day weekend, the third-most-deadly holiday for alcohol-related deaths. The annual Checkpoint Strikeforce efforts are happening as state statistics show that for the first time in several years, the percentage of people killed by drunken drivers in Virginia has increased.

Looking Down On Lindsay

WHEN IT COMES to the bad (young) girls of Hollywood messing up and seeking redemption, usually for thousands of dollars at a secluded rehab clinic, there's never a dearth of stories, from singer Brandy's vehicular manslaughter charges earlier this year to Paris Hilton's jail stay.

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in fatal crash

Shaun Lawhorn asked for Williams' keys. Lawhorn's wife, Kate, the designated driver that evening, offered Williams a ride. Several people tried to give Williams their cards for Safe Ride , a Navy program that pays for cab fare. They made the efforts because Williams had been drinking at a series of gatherings since 11 a.m., and had consumed beer, mixed drinks, gin and shots of Jagermeister. He refused their offers and left in his white Ford pickup about 11 p.m. on Feb. 24.

Mother of Va. Beach Man Killed In Crash Sues Driver

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

BY JOHN HOPKINS

CHESAPEAKE – The mother of a 31-year-old Virginia Beach man killed in a July 16 single-car crash in Chesapeake is suing the driver of the vehicle for being reckless and intoxicated.

Candace Wright filed the lawsuit recently in Chesapeake Circuit Court against Michael D. Conover, a 34-year-old Virginia Beach man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to involuntary manslaughter. Conover was sentenced to a year behind bars for the crash on Interstate 64 that killed Jonathan Dale McGlue.

McGlue was one of two passengers in a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo that Conover was driving when he lost control on westbound I-64 at the Greenbrier Parkway interchange. The vehicle flipped several times.

The lawsuit seeks $5 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. Wright, through her attorney Michael Goodove, filed the suit on behalf of the estate of her son.

The lawsuit accuses Conover of operating the vehicle in a reckless, negligent manner at excessive speeds. It also said Conover was under the influence of intoxicants.

McGlue was ejected from the sport utility vehicle . He died at Chesapeake General Hospital, police said. A front-seat passenger, who was the owner of the SUV, also was injured.

Conover had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.24 – three times the legal limit for driving – prosecutors said during his criminal prosecution.

nReach John Hopkins at (757) 222-5221 or john.hopkins @pilotonline.com.

Memo:
the incident

Michael D. Conover, 34, of Virginia Beach was sentenced to a year in prison for the crash on Interstate 64 that killed Jonathan Dale McGlue, 31. A front-seat passenger in the sport utility vehicle McGlue was riding in was injured.

the lawsuit

McGlue’s mother, Candace Wright, filed a lawsuit against Conover seeking $5 million in compensatory damages and $3 million […]

Charge withdrawn in homeless man’s death

Prosecutors withdrew a murder charge against a Norfolk man who was accused of shooting a man at the Oceanfront last year. Lamar A. Sinclair, 22, represented by attorney Timothy J. Quick, had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ronald Wood Jr., 34. With the help of his private investigator, Quick located a key witness who indicated there was only one shooter, contrary to the Commonwealth's theory of the case, and exonerating his client.

Some question lawyer’s melding of cause, career

THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

BY JON FRANK

NORFOLK – Almost 15 years ago, Michael L. Goodove was a law school student when his legal career and life were altered forever.

On a February morning in 1990, Goodove’s younger brother, Jeffrey, was riding in a car that was hit by another vehicle on a narrow, hilly road in Charlottesville.

Jeffrey, a University of Virginia student, was killed instantly.

The driver of the other car was drunk.

Goodove received the tragic news at George Mason University from his mother via telephone.

“I got the call nobody wants to get,” Goodove recalled in a recent interview. “I had never experienced death until my brother was killed. It was the first funeral I ever went to.”

That combination – drunken driving and tragedy – profoundly changed Goodove’s personal life. His family, especially his parents, were never the same.

“It is extremely unnatural to bury a child,” said Goodove, who is now married with three children . “That is something no one should ever have to go through.”

The experience of loss also came to define much of Goodove’s professional life, providing both controversy and a cause – as well as a source of commerce – to his vocation as a lawyer .

In the years since his brother’s death, Goodove has become a lawyer who represents people injured by drunken drivers and a prominent spokesman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He has been the group’s leader for the past 12 years.

In that capacity, Goodove has helped many families navigate the legal system after loved ones were injured or killed by DUI offenders.

“I consider what he does to be a real public service,” said Kaye Walsh, whose daughter, Robin Gustafson, was killed by a drunken driver in Virginia Beach in 1997. “He […]

PROPOSALS WOULD CLOSE DRUNKEN-DRIVING LOOPHOLES

LT. GOV. KAINE SEEKS LONGER SENTENCES, TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR REFUSING TESTS

Author: MICHELLE WASHINGTON THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine said Monday that he will push for tougher penalties against repeat drunken drivers, joining legislators and others who have called for changes in the wake of recent fatal crashes.

Kaine made the announcement on the steps of the courthouse where repeat drunken driver Roy Lee Everett was sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison for killing a high-school honor student in May.

Both of Kaine’s proposals would target third-time drunken drivers.

If they have two DUI convictions, are stopped again and refuse to take a blood or breath test, they would face one year in jail. The current penalty for refusing to be tested is a one-year driver’s license suspension. The mandatory jail sentence for third-time drunken drivers would increase from 10 days to one year.

Repeat drunken drivers know the system, Kaine said, and know what penalties they are likely to face if picked up again. Neither 10 days in jail nor the loss of a driver’s license is much deterrent, he said, and drunken drivers can sometimes avoid a third DUI conviction simply by refusing to take the test.

“Usually if you’re driving drunk you don’t mind driving on a suspended license,” Kaine said. If passed by the General Assembly, the new penalties would be “a powerful disincentive,” Kaine said.

Kaine said Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney John R. Doyle III pointed out weaknesses in the criminal system that repeat offenders exploit. Neither man mentioned Roy Lee Everett by name, but his case highlighted some of the loopholes.

Everett had surrendered his driving privileges after previous DUI convictions, so he had nothing to lose by refusing to take a blood or breath test. […]

JUDGE GIVES MAN 10 YEARS IN DRUNKEN-DRIVING DEATH

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

Author: JON FRANK THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

A 50-year-old man who was driving drunk in November when he killed the father of two children was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison.

Steven V. Arcese has been in custody since the Nov. 3 accident that killed 26-year-old David C. Fisher.

The accident occurred near London Bridge and Dam Neck roads, where Arcese’s Audi station wagon crashed head-on with Fisher’s Chevrolet Cavalier. Fisher’s two children were passengers in the car but were not seriously injured.

In April, Arcese pleaded guilty to second-offense driving under the influence and aggravated involuntary manslaughter. He faced up to 21 years in prison.

In court Tuesday, Arcese told Fisher’s family: “In no way, on that horrible night in November, did I intend to cause that accident. I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry.”

Circuit Judge Thomas S. Shadrick began to cry as he expressed sympathy to Fisher’s family shortly before issuing the sentence.

Shadrick gave Arcese the maximum 21 years but suspended all but 10.

Arcese will be on supervised probation after his release, with another 11 years in prison possible if he misbehaves during that time, Shadrick said.

Shadrick said harsher sentences likely are ahead for repeat offenders who drink and drive and hurt others. But, Shadrick said, until the law changes, he is obligated to stay close to state-mandated guidelines.

The maximum sentence recommended for Arcese by state guidelines was about 9.5 years in prison, Shadrick said.

The judge said he exceeded the guidelines a little to “make a statement, because the guidelines are a little low.”

Jim Fisher, the victim’s father, who has become an advocate for stiffer drunken-driving sentences, said he was satisfied with the time Arcese will serve in prison.

“This is a start,” Fisher […]

DRIVER INDICTED ON CHARGES IN TWO DUI ARRESTS

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

Author: MATTHEW ROY THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

The man accused of fleeing a crash that took the life of a Norfolk high school student was indicted Wednesday on felony charges of driving under the influence and hit and run.

Roy Lee Everett, 30, of Norfolk may be indicted on more charges in the future, said Commonwealth’s Attorney John R. Doyle III. Doyle declined to give details.

Everett’s lawyer, Bobby L. Howlett Jr., could not be reached for comment.

Everett was also indicted Wednesday on separate charges of DUI and driving drunk on a revoked license. Those charges stemmed from an April 14 arrest by an off-duty Norfolk police officer.

Officer W.E. Whiteside has testified he saw Everett driving recklessly, followed him and arrested him for DUI. Hours later, records show, Everett was freed on $1,000 bond. At the time, he had three prior DUI convictions in Virginia Beach.

On May 6, police say, Everett was at the wheel of a Dodge pickup that collided with a two-door Honda at North Military Highway and Azalea Garden Road. The crash killed 16-year-old Landon W. Chambers, a passenger in the car, and injured his brother, Barney.

Witnesses said Everett crawled from the pickup, which had turned onto its side, and fled on foot. Bystanders stopped him and held him for police, witnesses said.

He has been in custody since then and was being held without bond Wednesday, a spokesman for the City Jail said.

The charges in Wednesday’s indictment carry potential five-year prison terms, except for the hit-and-run charge. That count carries up to 10 years behind bars, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney James F. Entas.

Michael Goodove, an attorney who is president of the Southside Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, speculated that prosecutors may have […]