\ Click to Call Click to Text
Archive 2005 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Some question lawyer’s melding of cause, career



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 pulled us through the whole process.”

Goodove also has lobbied the General Assembly tirelessly to stiffen penalties for people convicted of DUI. Virginia now has some of the toughest drunken-driving laws in the country.

Through the years, Goodove became the face of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in South Hampton Roads, an implausible development because Goodove clearly is not a mother.

But his regular appearances in court and on television have made Goodove’s good looks and quiet confidence well-known among those interested in or personally touched by drunken driving.

A recent television advertisement by his Norfolk law firm – Rabinowitz, Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz & Goodove – focuses on Goodove’s personal story of tragedy.

The blending of commerce with crusade makes some in the legal community uncomfortable. They say Goodove uses his advocacy role, in part, to get business for his law firm.

But some lawyers support Goodove’s ability to turn a passionate personal interest into something that helps him in his professional life.

“I don’t see any conflict,” said Michael I. Ashe, a Virginia Beach lawyer and avid cyclist with a long history of representing fellow cyclists in personal-injury cases.

The advertisement, Ashe said, is only “stating that you are a lawyer who happens to know this particular field backward and forward.”

Other lawyers say Goodove’s level of commitment to the organization makes conflict allegations ridiculous.

“If he had to pay money to be involved with MADD, he would do it,” said Norfolk lawyer Larry Cardon. “He has a passion for this.”

To Goodove, the criticism is unfounded.

For one thing, he said, he always provides drunken-driving victims a list of other lawyers who could represent them in any legal proceeding. Those who choose him are a very small part of his legal practice, he said.

“Never once did I have any financial motivation for getting involved in it,” Goodove said. “I felt that I had a tool that would really help these victims that no one else had.”

It wasn’t always that way.

Early on, Goodove was as carefree and selfish as most recent college graduates. He wanted a glitzy career on Wall Street, not a job where grieving was an integral part of every working day.

He attended law school at the urging of his parents. Law would provide a profession he could always fall back on, they said.

His legal training had hardly begun when his brother was killed. It was a tremendous shock. “He was not just my brother; he was my best friend,” Goodove said.

The family gathered at home in South Hampton Roads to bury Jeffrey, hoping to bring the person who had killed him to justice. Soon, however, the reality of Virginia’s lax drunken-driving laws became depressingly apparent.

They found the police had botched the evidence collection. The drunken driver had been allowed to dispose of the beer in his car before he was questioned by authorities. That led prosecutors in Charlottesville not to pursue criminal charges.

The Goodove family persevered. Eventually, they had to be satisfied with a wrongful-death lawsuit. Criminal charges were never filed.

At that point, Goodove recalled, he began to “detach” from the situation to escape the tragic memories haunting the rest of his family. Returning to George Mason University, he plunged back into his law studies.

But he was troubled by the way he and his family had been treated by authorities. He thought the system was out of whack. He thought it cared little for bringing DUI offenders to justice and nothing for victims.

Soul searching followed, along with an internship in the Fairfax County prosecutor’s office.

“I discovered that I was good in court and liked wearing the white hat and being the good guy,” Goodove said.

When he returned to his hometown of Virginia Beach, he decided to devote his career to helping victims. He went to work for a personal injury law firm and contacted the state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving .

After starting a local chapter , attending conferences and talking to others, he concluded that drunken driving was a societal problem, deeply imbedded in the culture, cutting across economic strata.

The key problem was that most drunken drivers were walking away from even fatal accidents with rarely more than a slap on the wrist .

“The problem we faced was not so much the convictions but the punishment,” Goodove said.

Goodove’s goal was to build an organization with staying power that would help reshape attitudes over the long term.

That presence has allowed Mothers Against Drunk Driving to keep the image of victims before the media and public. Eventually, it has swung public opinion toward stiffer penalties, especially for repeat offenders.

Another victory was the acceptance of victim-impact statements after convictions. Under the old system, DUI offenders would walk away with probation, without the victims’ families being able to say how the injury or death had affected them.

Once victim-impact statements became part of the law, penalties became harsher. “They can be very powerful,” Goodove said.

Goodove strived to become a bridge between victims and prosecutors, leading the uninitiated through the maze like legal process that had so frustrated his own family.

Initially, Goodove faced opposition. Some judges thought Mothers Against Drunk Driving wanted to abolish alcohol use and that Goodove was a teetotaler who did not want to be around drinkers.

Neither was true.

Goodove drinks occasionally but makes certain he always has alternative transportation. And Mothers Against Drunk Driving has no intention of trying to stop people from drinking, only drinking and driving.

Today, when contacted by a DUI victim, Goodove meets the family and counsels them about what to expect. He provides them with support and advice and helps them prepare victim-impact statements at the appropriate time.

As the number of DUI accidents increases, so do the organization’s membership and donor rolls.

“Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a tragic event to make it close to your heart,” Goodove said.

Victims who survive have a simple choice, Goodove said: “You can vent angrily and let that dominate you, or you can use the pain in a cathartic manner to do some good.”

* Reach Jon Frank at 222-5122 or jon.frank@pilotonline.com.

{CAPTION} Michael L. Goodove’s brother was killed by a drunken driver 15 years ago. Goodove, right, a lawyer who also heads the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has championed his cause and worked for tougher laws in Virginia.

Mort Fryman The Virginian-Pilot

Copyright (c) 2005 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 7828775

STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 2003

Driver faced DUI charge three weeks before crash


A man facing his seventh drunken-driving charge after the crash Tuesday that killed a high school student was charged with driving drunk three weeks ago, but regained his freedom within hours by posting a $1,000 bond.

Roy Lee Everett, 30, was charged Tuesday with running a red light, driving under the influence and 10 other violations in the crash that killed 16-year-old Landon Chambers and injured his brother, Barney.

Everett is being held without bail in the Norfolk City Jail.

Everett has been behind bars before. He has three previous DUI convictions in Virginia Beach. And he was arrested for drunken driving most recently on April 14.

That’s when, court records say, Norfolk Officer W.E. Whiteside stopped him for driving recklessly at the wheel of a Jaguar.

Whiteside smelled alcohol.

“I asked if he had been drinking and he stated yes, 4 Mike’s Lemonades in an hour,” Whiteside wrote in papers filed in Norfolk General District Court.

A Department of Motor Vehicles records check showed Everett’s three prior convictions for DUI, Whiteside noted, as well as three previous convictions for driving on a suspended license.

In addition to the third-offense DUI, Whiteside charged Everett with driving after his driving privileges had been suspended.

Magistrate J.D. Bullock Jr. set Everett’s bond at $1,000 at 3:16 a.m. on April 14, according to court records. Everett posted bail through a bonding company at 4:57 a.m. and was freed.

Michael Goodove, an attorney and president of the Southside Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said anyone charged with a third-offense DUI, a felony, should not be allowed to post a bond and be freed from custody.

“Our position is the criminal justice system’s paramount responsibility is to protect lives,” he said. “Research has shown that your hardcore, repetitive drunk-driving offenders are the folks most

likely to injure or kill somebody.”

Three weeks after his release, police contend, Everett drove a pickup through a red light at North Military Highway and Azalea Garden Road into the path of the Chambers brothers, who were traveling in a Honda Civic. The impact crumpled their car and flipped the pickup on its side. Witnesses said Everett climbed from the pickup’s rear window and ran. Citizens cornered him behind a carpet store until police arrived to arrest him.

Bullock could not be reached for comment.

Chief Magistrate Beth B. Pennington said she spoke with him briefly about the bond and intends to meet with him in the coming week.

“At this point, I have to trust the magistrate’s judgment,” she said. “He’s been a magistrate for a while.”

By setting bonds, magistrates try to ensure that defendants show up in court, she said, noting they don’t determine guilt or innocence. She said they consider the length of time a defendant has lived in the area, family ties, any prior record and their likelihood to appear in court.

“No matter how high it’s set, a person can still bond out,” Pennington said.

This week’s DUI charge is the latest in a long list of serious driving infractions for Everett, stretching back to at least 1994.

During the past eight years, Everett has been convicted multiple times for a variety of charges, including reckless driving and speeding.

Everett’s three DUI convictions in Virginia Beach started with a charge in 1994. Five years later, in May 1999, Everett was charged with DUI, second offense.

In December 1999, he was charged again with DUI, second offense.

That last charge resulted in Everett getting the maximum jail penalty for second-offense-DUI – 12 months in jail, according Judge Albert D. Alberi, who sentenced Everett in Virginia Beach General District Court.

But Alberi suspended 11 months of the time and allowed Everett to serve the resulting monthlong sentence on weekends in the Virginia Beach City Jail.

It was not clear on Friday why Everett was not charged that December with DUI, third offense.

DUI, third offense, became a felony when state law was changed by the General Assembly in July 1999. It carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and can be lodged against any drunken driver who has two prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years.

Mark T. Del Duca, a Virginia Beach lawyer and former Beach prosecutor, explained Friday that Everett’s December DUI charge in 1999 may have occurred before his May 1999 offense had made its way through the court system.

If that were the case, it may have been impossible for Everett to be charged with DUI, third offense, in December 1999, Del Duca said.

Everett also was charged with second-offense DUI in Norfolk in January 1998, but the count was dismissed, online court records say.

Another DUI charge, in Emporia in August 1997, was dismissed, according to online court records.

Reach Matthew Roy at mroy(AT)pilotonline.com or 446-2540.

Copyright (c) 2003 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0305100125

Archive 2003 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Victim’s family files three lawsuits against motorist in fatal car accident


Three lawsuits have been filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court against a motorist who is accused of being drunk when he ran a red light and killed a 26-year-old father of two in November.

Steven C. Arcese, 50, had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood on Nov. 3, according to recent court testimony in the criminal case against Arcese. His Audi station wagon crashed head-on into a 1991 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by David C. Fisher.

Fisher died early the following morning from his injuries. His children, ages 3 and 6 months, suffered superficial injuries and have recovered.

Fisher was on the way to pick up his wife from her job at Wal-Mart in the couple’s only car when the accident occurred about 11:30 p.m. at the intersection of London Bridge and Dam Neck roads.

Arcese had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23 hours after the accident, police said. The legal limit in Virginia is 0.08.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of Fisher’s wife, Mandi Rose Fisher, and the children.

One of the lawsuits was filed in February. The other two were filed Monday.

The lawsuits allege that Arcese was drunk and speeding, failed to keep a proper outlook, failed to keep his vehicle under proper control and did not obey traffic signals.

Each of the lawsuits asks for compensatory damages of $5 million and punitive damages of $5 million.

Michael L. Goodove, the attorney who filed the suits, said the children were traumatized by the accident.

Arcese is being held without bond in the Virginia Beach city jail. He is scheduled to stand trial April 23 on charges of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence and refusal to take a blood-alcohol test.

The maximum penalty for aggravated involuntary manslaughter is 20 years.

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

Lawsuits filed by the family of David C. Fisher, who
died after a car ran into his, seek a total of $30 million in
punitive and compensatory damages.

Copyright (c) 2003 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0304130093

STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 1998


Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

June 7, 1998

Rebecca Dorschel’s eyes flew open and her body tensed as the car swung wide and slammed to a stop, dragging an orange cone along with it.

Rebecca, 15, was a backseat passenger in a car driven by her cousin, Joel Webb,. She had ridden with Joel before, but never on a ride like this one where everything felt out of control.

Rebecca and Joel were two of the hundreds of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy upper school students who experienced, firsthand but in total safety, a drive with a drunk driver.

The frightening but enlightening rides were in the Drunk Driving Simulator, a 1996 Dodge Neon that the Chrysler Corporation has modified with an on-board computer programmed to delay the car’s steering and braking response time, simulating the slowed abilities of a driver under the influence.

“It felt really weird when the brakes weren’t working at all and the steering locked up so I couldn’t control it,” Joel said.

“And he is normally a very good driver,” Rebecca added loyally.

The Simulator was developed in 1988 to allow sober drivers, and passengers, to experience the dangers of drinking and driving while on a controlled course with a trained instructor in the car. The instructor enters the driver’s weight and the number of hypothetical drinks needed to reach a blood alcohol level of approximately .13 to .15 and the computer takes over. A blood alcohol level of .08 is the legal limit in Virginia.

A separate kill brake allows the instructor to disengage the computer or shut down the engine when necessary.

Kerry Dunaway, Simulator instructor, said that his wisecracks and the upbeat music that filled the parking lot are all intended to make the experience a fun, but memorable one. The nervous laughter and joking around that he normally hears from the teens turns to serious thought after they have knocked down a few pop-up pedestrians along the course.

“I love this job because it gives you an opportunity to maybe make a change in someone’s life,” he said.

It took an entire year for NSA’s 75-member SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) club to bring the Simulator to the Academy, but their timing was good. Spring partying for proms and graduations makes the “don’t drink and drive” lessons most relevant.

“Overall I find that teenagers are receptive and responsible, more so than the adults,” Dunaway said.

Joel agreed, noting that most of the NSA students understand the importance of a designated driver.

Karen Konefal, a parent volunteer who helped register students to drive or ride in the Simulator, has a son and daughter in the school.

“You can talk to them until you are blue in the face but it is not like actually driving like you are out of control,” she said. “Hopefully this way they will remember to anticipate and not get caugt in the moment of a bad situation.”

Staff photos by MICHAEL KESTNER
Sarah Smith is all smiles at the wheel of the Drunk Driving
Simulator, but her back seat passenger looks a little apprehensive.

Yikes! A student driver nails a pylon on a tight turn while
operating the Drunk Driving Simulator.

Statistics drive home need to stay sober when driving

Mike Goodove, a Norfolk attorney whose brother was killed by a drunk driver in Charlottesville eight years ago, is also president of the South Side MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD is a supporter of the Simulator program. Goodove quoted the following statistics for 1996, the most recent available:

In Virginia in 1996 there were 7206 drivers under 21 involved in crashes. Alcohol was a factor in 346 of those.

Of the 3427 drivers under 21 involved in crashes in which there were personal injuries, 183 were alcohol impaired.

Overall, 39.8 percent of all traffic fatalities in Virginia that year were alcohol related.

Copyright (c) 1998 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9806050302

Virginian-Pilot Archive 1998 STS&G News Goodove in the News

Beach puts brakes on police chases now officers can’t pursue non-violent fleeing criminal

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)


The Virginia Beach Police Department’s new pursuit policy will allow pursuits for cases involving violent crimes against people, or for crimes involving guns or bombs. A headline in Friday’s newspaper only referred to the violent crimes.

Police Chief Charles R. Wall has banned all police pursuits in the city except for cases involving violent felons armed with guns.

The order, effective immediately, could eliminate nearly all police chases using motor vehicles, officers said Thursday. Police officers can no longer pursue drunken drivers, car thieves, burglars or other non-violent criminals who flee, according to the new order.

The June 2 memo from Wall was distributed to officers Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Some officers still had not seen the memo as of late Thursday. A copy was given to The Virginian-Pilot.

No other Hampton Roads jurisdiction has such a strict pursuit policy. The new order will affect other jurisdictions that chase fleeing motorists into Virginia Beach. Wall said those officers will be allowed to continue a hot pursuit in Virginia Beach, but they would not get help from his department’s officers unless the pursuit was justified under the new criteria.

The order is an interim step. Department officials are rewriting the pursuit policy, and the city’s officers will be given a chance to comment on a draft of the proposed orders. But Wall said he expects the final orders to be similar to the interim policy.

The new order is a sharp departure from the former policy, which allowed officers discretion as to when to begin a pursuit. The Police Department has in recent years allowed officers more latitude to aggressively halt fleeing motorists. Officers have been trained to use tire-deflating spikes and to box in fleeing vehicles with rolling roadblocks.

Also, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision made it very difficult for citizens to sue police in federal court for damages or injuries resulting from pursuits.

Wall said it was the safety of the community, and not the Supreme Court decision, that guided him.

“I am very concerned, as you should be, about the dangers inherent in police pursuits of vehicles,” Wall said in the memo. “The conflict between our efforts to protect the lives of citizens . . . and engaging in high-speed pursuits through city streets should be obvious.”

The new order will allow a pursuit only when an officer believes a car’s occupant or occupants have used a gun or a bomb to commit, or to try to commit, a violent felony.

“All other pursuits are prohibited,” the memo said.

Wall said Thursday the decision to curtail pursuits wasn’t taken lightly. He and others studied the pursuit policies of jurisdictions in at least seven states. They also consulted with national experts on police pursuits.

The chief said, after the review, he and his staff determined a more restrictive policy will be safer for the public and the police officers.

The new rules come against a backdrop of several controversial police pursuits in Virginia Beach, including some that have killed innocent people.

On Jan. 21, 1995, a drunken driver eluded police for 15 miles before the van he was driving slammed into a sports car in Norfolk and killed two people. Although state police had taken over the pursuit, the chase started in Virginia Beach. That chase would not be allowed now.

On March 25, 1997, Bruce V. Quagliato led police on a low-speed pursuit that ended when his car and at least two police cars collided on Independence Boulevard. He died after several police officers shot him, thinking he was armed. He wasn’t.

Twice in 1997, motorcyclists being chased for traffic or equipment infractions died after crashing at high speeds. Neither pursuit would be allowed now.

On Feb. 6, police said a 14-year-old girl was driving a stolen car when she sped from a police officer on Shore Drive. She and a companion survived a crash that killed an innocent motorist, 56-year-old Michael Boynton, a retired Navy SEAL and war hero. That pursuit would not be allowed today.

On March 14, five teen-agers in a stolen car crashed after trying to elude police. The car’s driver and one passenger, both 14, died. That pursuit would not be allowed today.

“We considered (these crashes) and we considered the danger to our officers,” Wall said. “We have looked at this for quite a while.”

Mary Boynton, wife of the man killed by the 14-year-old car thief, said Thursday she never blamed the police because they were doing their job. She said she instead blames the teen-agers who stole a car and killed her husband.

The new policy drew mixed reactions.

“I think it is great. It is something they should’ve done a long time ago,” said attorney Jim McKenry, who represents Quagliato’s family. Quagliato was shot to death at the end of a police pursuit when he refused to comply with officers’ orders. Under a strict interpretation of the new policy, a similar pursuit would not be initiated now.

His client “would still be alive and well,” McKenry said. Quagliato’s family is suing the city for $5 million.

But Mike Goodove, president of Southside MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said he is concerned about any policy that could hamper police from aggressive DUI enforcement. Under this policy, police can’t chase a drunken driver who flees.

“The Virginia Beach Police Department should first of all be applauded for its efforts to combat impaired driving,” he said. “We would certainly interpret impaired driving as a violent offense because of the potential injuries and death the drunk driver would cause. Because an impaired driver poses a serious threat to others on the roadway, the proposed policy change to ban pursuits, with respect to drunk driving, gives us some concern.

“We are confident that the Virginia Beach police department will allow its officers to remove impaired drivers from the roadway while protecting the safety of those on the road,” Goodove said.

Lillian DeVenny, state president of Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving, said she can see both sides of the issue. An advocate for stringent police enforcement of DUI, she also knows a family whose son was killed in a police pursuit.

“In a way, (the new policy) angers me, but I have had ambivalent feelings on that matter for quite some time,” she said. “I feel the police officers have been doing their jobs as best as they can, but when I look at the other side of the coin, and see the victims of pursuits, I have second thoughts.”

The city’s new policy represents exactly the kinds of police guidelines that Wyoming-based STOPP, or Solutions to Tragedies of Police Pursuit, lobbies for. That group studies police pursuits and ways to reduce them.

“That is wonderful,” said STOPP’s Jeff Maceiko of the Virginia Beach policy. “We don’t want them to ban all pursuits, per se, but we do want to ban all except for the pursuits of violent felons. This exactly what we want.”

Several police officers contacted Thursday said the new policy will limit their effectiveness, and it may cause more motorists to run because they know the police won’t chase. They said drunken drivers, unlicensed drivers and other criminals would probably take the chance to escape. Many officers said only law-abiding drivers would stop for them now.

Wall said he doesn’t think that will happen.

“Every place we have looked that has similar policies, we found that simply has not been the case,” Wall said. “They reported that was not the result.”

Before Thursday, the decision to chase a suspect was left to the individual officer. The officer would have to consider, among other things, the risks involved, the severity of the offense, and the possibility of catching the motorist at a later time. Now, most of that discretion is eliminated.

“While none of us likes the thought of letting someone go who has committed a violation and compounded that by fleeing when we signal them to stop,” the memo said, “the overriding factor guiding all of our actions must be our concern for the safety of the officers involved and the citizens of the community, as well as the violators themselves.”

One of the city’s police-union representatives, Officer Bobby Mathieson, said his organization doesn’t yet have an opinion on the new policy.

“We welcome the public input on this,” he said. “The public should be a big part of this, to see if they support (the new rules), or if they don’t.”

Although the Supreme Court has granted police departments more protection, Virginia Beach is one of many agencies across the country adopting more restrictive pursuit policies.

Authorities in Florida said Hampton Roads fugitive Carl Douglas Consolvo outran a police officer because the Miami Shores Police Department doesn’t allow pursuits. Federal authorities said Consolvo then continued his crime spree, which included a wave of bank robberies and the shooting of a Utah police officer.

But even though police may sometimes fail to catch criminals, no-pursuit policies could save more than 100 innocent lives a year, advocates said.

In 1996, the latest year for which complete national statistics are available, 377 deaths resulted from police pursuits. Of those deaths, 111 were innocent third parties. The remaining 266 were in the fleeing cars.

Some states have tried to quell the number of police pursuits. Some of those efforts have targeted the motorists, and some have curbed the police.

Oregon lawmakers, for example, made it a felony instead of a misdemeanor to run from police. Other state lawmakers, like those in Delaware, are trying to craft statewide pursuit policies that all municipalities must follow.

Wall said the final version of revised orders could be approved and in place by next month.

More on PILOT ONLINE: Do you agree with the restrictions on Virginia Beach police pursuits? Cast an instant-poll vote and tell your reasoning in TalkNet at


Copyright (c) 1998 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9806050663

Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 1995 STS&G News


Shame on you for giving print to the ramblings of Arnold Peterson, driver of the chased van that killed two people on Brambleton Avenue the night of Jan. 21.

I’m horrified and sickened by his message that society is being “too harsh,” “funny and ambivalent about alcohol,” “out to give him the maximum sentence” and it was the “fault” of the Virginia Beach police that he ran!

How absurd! How disgusting! How irresponsible! How twisted!


Virginia Beach, March 9, 1995

Regarding “Driver breaks silence on fatal car chase in downtown Norfolk” (news, March 8): Arnold O. Peterson say, “Our society is so funny about this (alcohol). It is legal to buy, it is legal to use. But it is not legal to get behind the wheel with.”

Gee, Mr. Peterson – I wonder why?

Mr. Peterson made the choice to continue drinking and the subsequent choice to drive under the influence and not stop for authorities. Law-abiding citizens must begin demanding that criminals be held accountable for their actions. Mr. Peterson does not get the sympathy vote from me.


Norfolk, March 9, 1995

Two people were taken from this world on Jan. 21 by the reckless actions of Arnold O. Peterson as he fled police while intoxicated. After two previous DUI convictions, two other charges of DUI, a reckless-driving conviction, an improper-driving conviction and finally the deaths of two innocent people, Mr. Peterson now has the audacity to “admit that he did wrong” while remarking that the news media are being unfair to him and he believes “that anti-drunken-driving groups are being harsher than they should.”

In Mr. Peterson’s case, the only things that are not harsh enough are the criminal laws and maximum sentences which he is facing. The fact that Mr. Peterson still considers himself a “good driver” is enough reason to keep him off the roads forever.


Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Southside Community Action Team

Norfolk, March 8, 1995

Copyright (c) 1995 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9503140005

STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 1995


The Virginia Beach man charged with killing two people when his van collided with their car after running a red light in downtown Norfolk has a record of drunken-driving charges that dates to 1976.

Arnold O. Peterson was stopped 19 years ago on his first DUI charge at the Brambleton Avenue exit on Interstate 264. He took the same exit Saturday night during a 15-mile chase by police that ended with the collision that killed a Richmond lawyer and a Virginia Beach woman.

Mike Goodove, chairman of the Southside chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, called Peterson’s history of DUIs “shocking and appalling.”

“He is looking at 40 years if he is charged with aggravated manslaughter, and he is a man who deserves to be incarcerated,” Goodove said.

Killed were William L. Rosbe, a 50-year-old attorney who survived more than 200 missions in Vietnam as a Marine pilot, and 40-year-old Terrie G. Timms of the 1500 block of Southwick Road in Virginia Beach.

Peterson, 47, appeared Monday morning in Norfolk General District Court. Prosecutors said they would pursue two charges of involuntary manslaughter. They decided not to immediately prosecute drunk-driving charges for fear of double-jeopardy. The arraignment was continued until Feb. 8.

Additional charges are pending against Peterson in Virginia Beach, including reckless driving and a felony charge of eluding police,said Virginia Beach Police Department spokesman Mike Carey.

Meanwhile, authorities from three law-enforcement agencies involved in the chase defended their policies that govern high-speed pursuits, claiming that no violations by participating officers were committed Saturday night.

“I’ve gone over the policy any number of times in the past and again today,” said Lt. Col. Basil Belsches, deputy superintendent of the Virginia State Police. “And I can’t see where we went wrong.”

Belsches said the review of the incident will include a look at all relevant policies.

Carey and Norfolk Police Department spokesman Larry Hill said their agencies also are conducting reviews that will include pursuit policies, but both said their officers acted properly.

Carey said the chase was started by Virginia Beach officers, who picked up Peterson’s van on radar as it was speeding on International Parkway about 11:15 p.m.

“The vehicle was considered to be driving recklessly,” Carey said. “It was not a bald tire or a headlight out.”

Hill said Norfolk officers joined in when the car entered their city.

“Here is a man who had DUI convictions,” said Hill. “If you let him go, this drunk driver could go on down the road and kill someone else. It is a no-win situation.”

Officers in both cities performed secondary roles once state troopers took control of the chase near the Newtown Road exit of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Expressway at the request of Virginia Beach police, Belsches said.

A state police car, which carried a camera that videotaped the chase, picked up the pursuit and followed Peterson on the expressway at speeds reaching 80 mph onto Interstate 264, where another state police cruiser joined in, Belsches said.

Both cruisers followed Peterson’s van when it exited I-264 at Brambleton Avenue. The state police cars remained about a block behind Peterson, Belsches said, as he raced along Brambleton, running red lights at speeds that reached 50 mph. Peterson then maneuvered his van onto the oncoming traffic lane on Brambleton Avenue. The street is divided by a concrete median.

Police first reported incorrectly Saturday that Rosbe and Timms apparently were leaving the opera in Rosbe’s 1983 BMW when the accident occurred. There was no opera Saturday night, but there was a Crystal Gayle concert at Chrysler Hall.

Hill said Rosbe’s car flipped several times because Peterson’s van hit the car broadside and pushed it against a curb. The curb, Hill said, acted “just like someone sticking their foot out and tripping you.”

Police said Peterson, of the 2100 block of Beckman Cove, was not seriously injured.

The van was owned by Nansemond Heating and Cooling. Peterson was not authorized to drive the vehicle, said the company’s owner, Grant Huneycutt.

During the chase, a representative of the company was called by police, who saw the company’s telephone number on the side of the van. The company representative said that the van was not supposed to be on the street.

“Arnie was not authorized to drive a company vehicle,” said Huneycutt. “He obtained this vehicle improperly.”

Before Norfolk police got involved, the troopers and Virginia Beach officers vigorously pursued the van in part because they mistakenly believed it might have been a vehicle stolen by youths involved in a Portsmouth-area robbery spree Saturday night.

Belsches said troopers involved in the chase also were acting under the impression that the van may have been stolen by the robbery suspects.

Portsmouth police arrested two teenagers on Sunday who are suspected in the string of robberies on Saturday in Portsmouth. Another teen was being sought Monday.

Peterson, who is being held in the Norfolk City Jail, was out on a $7,500 bond at the time of the accident for a DUI charge in Virginia Beach.

Carey said Virginia Beach police officers encountered Peterson at the intersection of Old Donation Parkway and First Colonial Road at 3:53 a.m. on Dec. 3. He also was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and an unrelated domestic assault charge. He was to appear in court on the charges Feb. 27.

Peterson’s first DUI charge in Hampton Roads appears to have been in September of 1976 when he was stopped on Interstate 264 by the Virginia State Police.

He was stopped again less than a year later by Norfolk police on Llewellyn Avenue and charged with DUI. Both charges were levied before court records were computerized, and it was unclear if Peterson was found guilty.

However, records do show that in February of 1992 Peterson was convicted of DUI in Virginia Beach.

Peterson also has a reckless driving conviction in Chesapeake in 1991 and an improper driving conviction in Virginia Beach in 1994, court records show.

Both victims of Saturday’s accident were recently widowed. The survivors of Terrie Timms include three children. She also had three stepchildren whose natural mother is still alive.

Color photo
Arnold O. Peterson was stopped 19 years ago on his first DUI

Copyright (c) 1995 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9501240281

STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 1993


In a recent 10-day span, four people died and three others were critically injured in alcohol-related car crashes in South Hampton Roads.

The accidents stirred outrage, brought cries for tougher laws and caused the phones to ring almost nonstop at the offices of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving.

But statistics released this week indicate that laws now on the books and the lobbying efforts and public awareness campaigns of such organizations have produced dramatic results.

In recent years, the number of alcohol-related fatalities has fallen sharply in Hampton Roads, in Virginia and across the nation:

Between 1982 and 1992, the number of drinking-related deaths nationwide dropped by about 8,500.

During the same decade, the percentage of all auto fatalities in Virginia that were alcohol-related fell by almost 10 percent, from 52.8 percent to 43.1 percent.

In 1990, 58 people were killed by drunken drivers in South Hampton Roads – 59 percent of all driving fatalities. Last year, that number had fallen to 35 – 40 percent – in the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk.

Experts attribute the decline to tougher law enforcement and more awareness, particularly among teenagers, of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Lillian DeVenny, who heads and helped form Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving, said her organization and groups like it deserve some credit for that trend. “We do believe that what we’re doing is working,” she said.

But DeVenny and others point out that their work is far from over, as the two recent fatal accidents, one in Virginia Beach and the other in Suffolk, clearly show.

“We’ve still got a segment of the population out there who’s not listening,” said DeVenny, of Virginia Beach. “We’ve come a long way and the figures show it. But, oh my God, we’ve still got a ways to go . . . Any time we see what we’ve just seen, we know the drunk drivers are still out there.

“The mood is indignation and anger. I don’t think in all the years I’ve been doing this I’ve seen the public respond in such a positive manner. These cases have set people off. The public is crying out, `We’ve had enough.’ ”

A 23-year-old woman called to tell DeVenny that two family friends had just been killed in West Virginia. “It’s time I get involved,” she said.

Two homebound women offered to stuff envelopes. Survivors of accidents involving drunken drivers have called to talk about their experiences. People offered to go to Richmond to lobby for tougher laws. Others wanted statistics for papers or speeches.

The outrage may have an impact on the 1994 General Assembly, which begins next month. Several lawmakers plan to show up armed with bills to further combat highway carnage.

State Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who saw his share of fatal accidents as a Virginia Beach police officer, has been active in efforts to keep drunken drivers off the roads.

“It doesn’t affect most Virginians until someone they know or someone in their family is killed or hurt by a drunk driver,” he said. “Unfortunately, society as a whole is still willing to tolerate the drunk driver. Until that changes, we can do anything we want at the legislative level and we’re not going to resolve the problem.

“We have to have that commitment that it’s not going to be tolerated to go out and drink and then drive. I can’t think of anything else that society accepts that we know kills people.”

Stolle said citizens need to remember that they have a voice in getting the laws changed through their lawmakers.

“These bills will save lives,” Stolle said.

Del. Glenn Croshaw, D-Virginia Beach, says he is horrified by each new report of a death or injury caused by a drunken driver, especially since laws he believes could have made a difference have failed in past legislative sessions.

“It’s devastating,” he said. “Many of these fatal accidents that are alcohol-related are multiple-conviction individuals. There is just story after story.”

Croshaw is convinced that a law that would allow police officers to pull a suspected drunken driver’s license at the scene is a good way to save lives.

“We’ve said as a society, `We don’t want you drinking and driving,’ ” Croshaw said. “We need to get serious about it . . . I think what we’re moving to in society is zero tolerance for everyone.”

Some of the calls into local MADD and VODD offices are from people with children too young to drive. Their parents are thinking ahead.

“I don’t care what age you are,” said Brenda Vaccarelli, founder and current president of the Peninsula chapter of MADD. “Alcohol-related fatalities don’t discriminate. They affect everyone . . . Alcohol-related deaths have decreased, but one is one too many. That’s the bottom line. We want to be put out of business.”

Michael Goodove, chairman of the Southside Community Action Team of MADD, said the latest statistics reflect enhanced public awareness of the problem.

“People use designated drivers much more,” he said. “They think before they drink. People are more aware that when you get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking, it’s the same thing as firing a weapon into a crowd.”

Color photo
Police from all over Hampton Roads attend a meeting Wednesday at the
Hampton Coliseum parking lot to raise awareness of drunken driving.
The event kicked off National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention
Month. Recently, the Virginia State Police announced plans to set up
sobriety checkpoints in cooperation with local law enforcement
agencies in a monthlong campaign to battle drunken driving on
Virginia highways.

SOURCE: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
[For complete graphic information, please see microfilm]

Proposed in the 1994 General Assembly:
Reduce from 0.10 to 0.08 the blood alcohol level at which a
driver is considered to be drunk.
Make a third offense of driving under the influence punishable by
one to five years in prison or up to 12 months in jail and a fine.
Add “driving after drinking” to the offenses underage drinkers
can be charged with. The law calls for punishment as a Class 1
misdemeanor and suspension of driver’s license for a year.
Recoup from drivers the money that accidents cost localities.
Allow police to pull a suspect’s license at the scene.
Voicing your opinion
Call your state legislator or send word through these
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
South Hampton Roads: 670-3830
Peninsula: 595-4101
Virginians Opposing Drunk Driving: 497-2494

Copyright (c) 1993 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9312020796

Archive 1993 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot


When the Norfolk man saw a car swerve along Interstate 264, hit another car on Waterside Drive and then drive on, he grabbed his cellular phone and called police.

A dispatcher told him to wait for an officer. But when the drunk drove on, so did the man – through Norfolk, Portsmouth and Chesapeake, until three patrol cars ended the chase and he was finally able to hang up.

“I kept seeing my wife in that damaged car,” said the man, who asked not to be named. “I previously worked in an emergency room. I used to see what drunk driving can do.”

State police on Thursday urged other car-phone owners to report drunken drivers.

Along with Sprint Cellular and Hampton Roads Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the troopers announced the creation of a DUI hot line that will allow Sprint customers in southeastern Virginia to report suspected drunken drivers toll-free by dialing *DUI (*384).

It is the first time such a service has been available in Virginia, where there were 40,107 drunken-driving arrests last year, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Forty-five percent of the state’s 839 auto fatalities in 1992 were alcohol-related.

Sprint officials said the hot line has been successfully tested in Las Vegas and New Mexico. In Las Vegas, such calls have resulted in an average of five drunken-driving arrests a month.

But the extent of the local program is unknown because Sprint officials would say only that they had “many thousands of customers” and would not release an exact number.

There may be some minor problems with the new system.

The calls go into one of only three 911 phone lines at state police headquarters in Chesapeake. Police are asking callers to stay on the line if there is no answer.

Robert Sage, Sprint’s general manager for Hampton Roads, also said the new system is meant to encourage callers to report drunken drivers, not police them.

“This is going to put people on notice,” said Michael Goodove, a local MADD official. “Now, everyone with a cellular phone is going to have the power to turn suspected drunk drivers in.”

Copyright (c) 1993 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9305140630