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May 23, 2003

More charges against DUI suspect prosecutors say he claimed he was his brother to avoid troubles


The man accused of driving drunk and killing a Lake Taylor High School honor student in a crash this month now faces new charges that he posed as his brother during a traffic stop last year to avoid prosecution.

Roy Lee Everett, 30, was charged Wednesday with forging a public document, identity theft and fourth-offense driving under the influence. Police served the warrants at the Norfolk City Jail, where Everett is being held without bond.

Virginia Beach police said Everett posed as his brother during a DUI stop in October – seven months before the collision in Norfolk that killed 16-year-old Landon W. Chambers.

Everett is scheduled to be arraigned on the new felony charges and two related misdemeanor traffic offenses on May 30 in Virginia Beach General District Court.

On May 6, he was at the wheel of a pickup truck that ran a red light on Azalea Garden Road and headed into the path of a Honda Civic on North Military Highway in Norfolk, police said. The impact flipped the pickup on its side and crumpled the Honda.

Landon Chambers, a passenger in the Honda, died hours later. The driver was his brother, Barney, who was injured and is recovering.

Police and witnesses said Everett crawled out of the pickup’s rear window and ran. Citizens cornered and detained him nearby. He has been charged with DUI and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, all felonies, as well as running a red light and eight other traffic offenses.

If Everett had been convicted in the October case, he likely would have been in jail serving a 12-month sentence – not on the road earlier this month.

Instead, police said Thursday, he posed as his brother, Billy Wilson Everett, when a Beach police officer stopped him on Oct. 16 at South Independence Boulevard and Dahlia Drive.

Court records show that the driver then was in a 1997 Dodge van.

It is not apparent from records why the man was stopped.

But Officer D.C. Meeks charged the driver, “Billy Everett,” with DUI.

The driver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13, court records show. Virginia’s legal limit is 0.08.

The man was freed on $1,200 bond.

The charges were withdrawn when Billy Everett showed up Dec. 3 in Virginia Beach General District Court and Meeks realized that he was not the driver he had arrested.

Ray Eisenberg, a Virginia Beach police captain, said Meeks recognized Roy Everett as the actual driver when his photo appeared in The Virginian-Pilot after this month’s fatal accident in Norfolk. That led to the reinstatement of the DUI charge and to the two new felonies.

Mike Goodove, president of the Southside Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, praised the police for sticking with the case.

“We applaud the police department and the prosecutors for following up on these charges to make sure that justice is pursued,” Goodove said.

He has been critical of the way Everett’s prior offenses – including three DUI convictions in Virginia Beach – were handled, allowing him to find a way to continue driving.

But on Thursday, Goodove said Virginia Beach traditionally has done a “terrific” job on DUI prosecutions and that he did not know if any procedures were skipped during last fall’s investigation.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey L. Bryant III said Thursday he believes proper procedure was followed by the police officer and in court when the charges were removed in December.

This is not the first time Roy Everett has been accused of passing himself off as his brother.

Norfolk court records show that he did so after he was stopped last year for speeding on North Military Highway.

At 3:55 a.m. on April 21, 2002, Norfolk police Officer R.C. Cook wrote two tickets to a man driving a 1994 Mercedes. The man identified himself as Billy W. Everett.

Cook charged him with driving 67 mph in a 45-mph zone and for driving without a license.

“He had memorized all his brother’s information,” said Norfolk police spokesman Chris Amos. “He had no ID.”

Cook was suspicious, Amos said, and had the man roll his thumb in ink and mark the summonses with his thumbprint.

Roy Everett later contacted the commonweath’s attorney’s office and admitted what he had done, Amos said.

The charges against Billy Everett were withdrawn. Cook wrote new summonses charging Roy Everett with speeding and driving with a suspended or revoked license, court records show. Cook also charged Roy Everett with assuming a false name.

He was convicted of the charges and was fined $125, plus court costs, records show. He also received a 60-day suspended sentence, according to online court records.

Though lacking a valid license, Roy Everett continued to drive, authorities said.

Only weeks before the accident that took the life of Landon Chambers, Everett was arrested and charged with DUI in Norfolk. But Magistrate J.D. Bullock Jr. set his bail at $1,000, and Everett was freed within hours. That case is pending.

Bobby L. Howlett Jr., Everett’s attorney, did not return telephone calls.

Attempts to reach Billy Everett have been unsuccessful.

Reach Jon Frank at jfrank(AT)pilotonline.com or 446-2277

Copyright (c) 2003 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0305230125