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Recent Posts STS&G News Goodove in the News Archive 2015

Walk Like MADD Sponsor

Michael Goodove and his law firm of Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz & Goodove, P.C. are proud to once again sponsor Southside MADD’s WALK LIKE MADD event.  The event will take place on March 2, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach. WALK LIKE MADD is your chance to do something about drunk driving in our community. This year, thousands of people in over 60 cities around the nation will participate in 5k events to eliminate drunk driving from our roadways.  You can help MADD eliminate drunk driving by signing up for a Walk Like MADD event near you as a walker, team captain, or volunteer. You can even be involved without attending the event by signing up as a virtual walker or making a donation to another walker or team.  Please join Michael Goodove and his law firm of Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz & Goodove, P.C. in this wonderful event. Please click on http://www.walklikemadd.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=557 to sign up.


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Virginian-Pilot Archive 2012 STS&G News Goodove in the News

U.S. marshals on trail of Virginia Beach fugitive

For more than two months, police and bail bondsmen have searched for 23-year-old Cameron Paul Crockett, who didn’t show up for sentencing after a jury convicted him of manslaughter in the drunken-driving death of a friend.

Paul
Fugitive Paul Crockett

Now, federal authorities say they’ve joined the hunt.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which works to find fugitives believed to have crossed state lines or fled the country, is investigating Crockett’s case, spokeswoman Carolyn Gwathmey said Wednesday in an email. The marshals’ Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and its International Investigations Branch are involved, she said.

Mike Rowland of Lucky Seven Bail Bonds, who posted Crockett’s $20,000 bail, on Wednesday in Circuit Court received another 150 days per state law to find the fugitive before possibly forfeiting the money.

“We’re steadily working on it,” Rowland said. He declined to comment on where he believed Crockett might be.

Meanwhile, Crockett’s friends and family have launched a campaign professing his innocence on YouTube and Facebook. A Facebook profile that appears to belong to Crockett has changed several times since his disappearance, including the profile photo changing once before being deleted.

Crockett has maintained he was not driving the night of Dec. 28, 2008, when 20-year-old John “Jack” Korte Jr. died in a crash on Wolfsnare Road.

In October, Crockett’s insurance company settled a wrongful-death suit with Korte’s family for $150,000. They initially had sought $10 million.

“I can assure you that the family was never motivated at all by any of the monetary aspects of it,” said Michael Goodove, the Kortes’ attorney. “This allowed them to force somebody to accept accountability and to give them some closure, which has been long overdue.”

Then, on March 1, a jury found Crockett guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Korte’s death. Although he did not show up for sentencing four days later, the jury recommended he serve five years in prison, half the maximum.

The conviction was Crockett’s third on charges connected to Korte’s death.

A judge threw out an earlier manslaughter conviction when the jury couldn’t agree on a sentencing recommendation.

Crockett still is awaiting trial on additional charges in the case, including drunken driving and intimidating a witness.

Now he’s also charged with misdemeanor and felony failures to appear. The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail; the felony, five years in prison.

If Crockett fled the state, he also could face federal prosecution.

Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried several times to convince a judge to revoke Crockett’s bond, arguing he had violated his release conditions, said Macie Pridgen, a spokeswoman for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Although Crockett had to surrender his passport, he still could have hopped a flight to another state or country, said Steve Sterling, director of airport operations at Norfolk International Airport. He said airlines are required to check only that a passenger is not on the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly list.

“I’m certain that people who have warrants against them fly all over the country all the time,” Sterling said. “There’s not a system in place to check a wanted status on someone when they fly.”

Crockett’s attorney, Andrew Sacks, said Crockett has not contacted him since he didn’t show up for court.

“We’re extremely disappointed that Mr. Crockett has still not presented himself,” Sacks said. “We strongly urge him to do the responsible thing, so that his case can be appropriately concluded.”

Kathy Adams, 757-222-5155, kathy.adams@pilotonline.com

Categories
STS&G News Goodove in the News Archive 2012

Breath test may be required before first-time DUI offenders drive again

People with their first DUI conviction could have to pass a breath test before starting the engine, if laws pass the Va. General Assembly and are signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Senate Bill 378 and House Bill 279 require a person with one DUI to blow into an breathalyzer before the car can start. Right now, that’s only required for repeat offenders or when a person’s blood alcohol level is above .15 percent.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Virginia says the bills were drafted twice to increase the chances of getting at least one passed.

Governor McDonnell supports the bill as a “common-sense measure to make roadways safer and reduce DUI-related injuries and deaths,” a spokesperson said.

Opponents disagree.

“It eliminates judicial discretion when it comes to the cases of low BAC (blood alcohol content) first-time offenders,” argues Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, a restaurant trade organization that represents more than 250 restaurants in Virginia.

Longwell worries the legislation could eventually lead to breathalyzers in all vehicles.

“There is technology that has already been developed that is already in the implementation phase that is much more sophisticated that detects alcohol through air in the cabin of the car through low light lasers,” she notes.

Attorney and MADD member Mike Goodove states the bills won’t infringe on the rights of drivers with no DUIs.

“We’re talking about the people who have been convicted of a DUI and they want a restricted license,” he explains.

If the General Assembly passes legislation and the governor signs it, the law would take effect July 1.

Categories
STS&G News Goodove in the News Archive 2009

Memorial service honors crash victim

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – He was his parents’ only son, but Hunter Richardson became a brother to many. “Just him being there; his smile could brighten up a room, the worst day, he could turn it into the best,” friend Samuel Markham said.

Richardson’s life was honored Tuesday morning at a memorial service just 4 days after he died. “It’s overwhelming, its too much , it’s still so surreal, it’s I don’t know,” sighed Andrew Sullivan.

For some, it was a day to mourn a loss; for others, a time to celebrate a life. But together, they gathered to support one family. Centenary United Methodist Church holds approximately 700 people in its sanctuary and balcony. Still, there was standing room only.

“It speaks volumes about his character, a tremendous human being, it’s hard to put into words.”

“God makes everything happen for a reason, I’m sure He has a reason for this and you can see how many lives he touched.”

It directly touched Garrett Staats life. Staats’ daughter Charlotte survived the crash. She and Richardson were walking across the street near Town Center when they were hit. Police said the person driving the car, Natasha Herzog, 29, was drunk.

“There’s always a lesson, the lesson’s been being told for I don’t know how many years, I guess since the invention of the MADD organization, so the lesson has been there, the message has been there, just got to get somebody to listen to it,” Staats excliamed.

In a sad irony, tonight the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving will hold it’s annual vigil to remember local victims.

“We’re going to be lighting a candle with each victim’s name in our local area and unfortunately that list continues to grow,” said Southside President Michael Goodove.

Richardson’s name could likely join that list. But it was clear to see his name already written across the hearts of the people he loved.

“Life is fragile, and I think he had it right: live like you might not have a tomorrow.”

Article taken from wvec: Click for Link

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Virginian-Pilot Archive 2007 STS&G News Goodove in the News

Drunken Driving Fatalities Up In Virginia

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

Deaths due to drunken-driving accidents in 2006, up from 322 the year before. However, Hampton Roads deaths went down from 32 in 2005 to 22 in 2006.

For city-by-city breakdown, see Page 5. By Jen McCaffery

The Virginian-Pilot

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.

In 2005, there were 322 deaths in alcohol-related accidents, compared with 374 deaths in 2006, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. However, in most South Hampton Roads cities, the number of fatalities from alcohol-related accidents during the same time period decreased, DMV statistics show.

Twenty-two people died locally in 2006, compared with 32 in 2005.

“Perhaps our friends in Hampton Roads are just listening a little better,” Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell said.

McDonnell, a former Virginia Beach legislator, helped implement a package of new laws that reformed the state’s DUI restrictions in 2004 .

They include harsher punishments for repeat offenders and mandatory jail time for some drunken-driving offenses.

According to the DMV report, Virginia Beach was the only city that recorded a significant increase in the number of fatalities from alcohol-related crashes .

Last year, Virginia Beach had 15 fatalities connected to people driving under the influence of alcohol.

In 2005, there were 10 deaths , DMV statistics show.

“We’ve come a long way, but the increasing number shows that impaired driving is a serious and high priority for both MADD and law enforcement,” said Mike Goodove , president of the Southside chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving .

The resort city’s DUI statistics don’t reflect the work of the Virginia Beach Police Department, which Goodove described as a model for the nation when it comes to impaired driving enforcement.

Virginia Beach police make about 10 percent of all DUI arrests in the state , said Sen. Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who used to work for the department.

In 2005 and 2006 , the department, which has two units dedicated to DUI enforcement, averaged about 2,000 arrests , spokesman Adam Bernstein said.

“The Virginia Beach Police Department does a great job of enforcement, but they can’t be everywhere,” Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant said.

He estimated that for every driver who is arrested on charges of driving under the influence, another 25 to 35 are on the street driving drunk.

McDonnell said he doesn’t believe that the state’s recent uptick in the percentage of fatalities statewide will become a long-term trend.

Over the past five years, the number of injuries related to people driving under the influence has decreased, he said.

Stolle, who notified next-of-kin about DUI-related deaths when he worked for the Virginia Beach Police Department’s fatality team, said it’s too soon to tell whether the numbers in South Hampton Roads reflect the impact of the new legislation.

“I would hope what you’re seeing is the beginning of a downward trend,” he said.

Jen McCaffery, (757) 446-2627,

jen.mccaffery@pilotonline.com

Memo:
lives lost in 2006

Copyright (c) 2007 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 17792698

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

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 said. “It is higher than the guidelines and that is all we were hoping for.”

Fisher said he hopes the decision to keep Arcese locked up without bond until sentencing will set the standard for others charged with second-offense DUI and higher.

The public outcry against drunken drivers has intensified in recent months after a rash of fatal DUI accidents.

In Norfolk recently, police say a repeat DUI offender killed a Lake Taylor High School student after a magistrate allowed him out of jail on a $1,000 bond on a previous DUI charge.

After the sentencing, Moody E. “Sonny” Stallings, one of two attorneys who represented Arcese, said he was “prepared for a little worse” because attitudes against drunken drivers are changing rapidly.

Much of the change stems from public reaction to the Arcese case and other recent fatal DUI crashes.

“The community is talking about this case,” Stallings said, especially at the Oceanfront, where Arcese is a well-known resident.

People are starting to realize when they are out drinking, they should “get a cab, call a friend or walk, because this kind of tragedy will be repeated again,” Stallings said.

Michael L. Goodove, a Norfolk lawyer and president of the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said he would have preferred a longer sentence for Arcese.

“I think more time would have sent a stronger message to the community,” Goodove said. “and kept an habitual offender off the roads.”

Reach Jon Frank at 222-5122 or jon.frank(AT)pilotonline.com

Caption:
Color Photo
Steven V. Arcese, 50, faced 21 years, but the judge suspended all
but 10.
Photo
David C. Fisher, 26, was killed in a drunken-driving accident Nov.
3. in Virginia Beach.

Copyright (c) 2003 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0307020146

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

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 indicted Everett on DUI in order to hold him while they investigate the case further.

Everett also faces criminal charges in Virginia Beach, where, authorities allege, he posed as his brother when he was charged in yet another DUI case last October. He faces counts of DUI, forgery of a public document, identity fraud and a license-related charge.

Caption:
Photo
Roy L. Everett was indicted Wednesday on multiple charges from two
incidents, including one that killed a 16-year-old.

Copyright (c) 2003 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0306190069

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

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

Author: JON FRANK THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

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

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

Driver faced DUI charge three weeks before crash

Author: MATTHEW ROY AND JON FRANK THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

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

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

Confusion with sibling’s identity twists DUI case

ROY LEE EVERETT MAY HAVE POSED AS HIS BROTHER DURING A DRUNKEN-DRIVING ARREST IN VIRGINIA BEACH LATE LAST YEAR

Author: MATTHEW ROY AND BILL BURKE THE

Roy Lee Everett, who was charged with driving under the influence in last week’s crash that killed a teen in Norfolk, may have posed as his brother during a drunken-driving arrest in Virginia Beach late last year, possibly avoiding a mandatory one-year jail term.

Police are investigating whether Everett, who has three DUI convictions in Virginia Beach, falsely gave police his brother’s name during an Oct. 16 traffic stop at South Independence Boulevard and Dahlia Drive.

If Everett had been convicted of the October DUI, he likely would not have been driving a pickup truck that collided on May 6 with a Honda Civic, fatally injuring 16-year-old Landon W. Chambers. As a four-time DUI offender, Everett would have faced a year behind bars with no time suspended.

The driver in the October case, who identified himself as Billy Wilson Everett, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13, court records show. Virginia’s legal limit is 0.08.

When the real Billy Everett went to court following the October DUI stop, the arresting officer said he was not the man he had ticketed and the charges were withdrawn.

The driver may in fact have been Roy Lee Everett, who impersonated his brother last year when he was stopped for speeding in Norfolk, according to court records and police.

A Virginia Beach police captain says the officer who arrested “Billy W. Everett” for DUI recognized Roy Everett as the actual driver when his photo appeared in the newspaper last week.

An expert handwriting analyst also says it is “highly probable” that Roy Everett signed Billy’s name to court documents after the arrest, based on an examination of those documents and known signatures of the brothers.

Michael Goodove, an attorney who is president of the Southside Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, called the revelation that Roy Everett may have dodged a fourth DUI offense “amazing.”

“It just blows my mind,” he said. “In an information age with computer records as accessible as they are, it is shocking to us this person was not dealt with more appropriately.”

He said Virginia’s penalty for a fourth DUI offense could have saved an innocent victim.

Roy Lee Everett’s attorney, Bobby L. Howlett Jr., did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Court records show the driver in the October Virginia Beach DUI case was operating a 1997 Dodge van that night. It is not apparent from records why the man was stopped. Officer D.C. Meeks charged the driver, “Billy Everett,” with DUI and he was freed on $1,200 bond.

Billy Everett didn’t appear for the initial Nov. 6 court date, records show, and a judge issued an order for him to appear. He turned himself in. At the time, he told a magistrate that he was never given that ticket, court records say.

When Billy Everett’s case was called in General District Court on Dec. 3, Meeks was there. The charges were withdrawn. A two-word explanation appears in the court record: “Wrong person.”

Attempts to get comment from Billy Everett were unsuccessful.

Now, Virginia Beach police are investigating if Roy Everett posed as his brother.

Last week, after the collision in which Chambers died received extensive media coverage, Meeks saw Everett’s photograph in the newspaper, said Beach police Capt. Ray Eisenberg.

“He realized this was the guy he originally arrested in October,” Eisenberg said.

Roy Everett has not been charged in the case, but the matter is under investigation and will be taken to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Eisenberg said.

If Roy Everett is charged with posing as his brother, it won’t be the first time. Court records show that Roy Everett passed himself off as Billy Everett after he was stopped for speeding on North Military Highway in Norfolk earlier last year.

At 3:55 a.m. on April 21, 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 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 Commonwealth’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 while license is suspended or revoked, court records show. Cook also charged Roy Everett with assuming a false name – Billy Everett’s.

Roy Everett was convicted of the charges and was fined a total of $125, plus court costs, court 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 contend. He was arrested April 14 in Norfolk and was charged with DUI. Magistrate J.D. Bullock Jr. set his bail at $1,000 and he was freed within hours. That case is pending in court.

On May 6, authorities charge, Everett 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. The impact flipped the pickup on its side and crumpled the Honda, injuring the Chambers brothers. Landon Chambers died hours later.

Police and witnesses say 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.

His bond on the April 14 DUI has been revoked, and he is being held without bond on the new charges.

When Virginia Beach Officer Meeks pulled the Dodge van over last Oct. 16, there’s a strong likelihood Roy Everett was driving, according to Lawrence W. Farmer.

Farmer, a Virginia Beach document examiner who once headed Norfolk’s Secret Service office, has been analyzing handwriting in criminal and civil cases for nearly 50 years. He has provided expert analysis in several notable cases, including a Portsmouth mayor suspected of authoring hate mail and a Virginia Beach high school basketball coach who scrawled racist graffiti at the school.

The Virginian-Pilot hired Farmer to analyze the signatures.

Farmer’s conclusion in the Everett case is based on comparisons he made of undisputed signatures of both Everett brothers with two “Billy Everett” signatures that appear on a bail bond form in Virginia Beach. That form was signed by the person arrested on the October DUI charge.

Farmer, who has testified in hundreds of court cases since 1954, said certain distinctive features of the questionable signatures match features of Roy Everett’s known signatures.

In both cases, the author “writes the letters close together, with little or no connecting space between letters,” Farmer said.

Also, the letter “y” in the names Billy and Roy are strikingly similar, he said. “The `cup’ of the `y’ in both cases is deep, with the downstroke and upstroke very close together,” he said. “The last stroke of the y in both cases is headed to the first `E’ in Everett.”

He also noted that the capital “E” in Everett loops across the following “v” in both signatures.

One of the most distinctive similarities, he said, is the way the second “e” and following “r” in Everett are written in a way that appears to form the letter “o,” a feature Farmer said he had never seen before in thousands of handwriting samples.

Farmer said he assigns a value to each distinctive feature. He said that based on his analysis, “I would be willing to testify in court that it is highly probable the same person who signed the name Roy Everett also signed Billy’s name.”

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

Reach Bill Burke at bill.burke(AT)pilotonline.com or 446-2589.

Caption:
Color photo
THE DEFENDANT: Roy Lee Everett was charged with driving under the
influence in a crash that fatally injured 16-year-old Landon W.
Chambers on May 6. Above, Everett is shown in court on May 13.
THE SIGNATURES: Lawrence W. Farmer, a Virginia Beach document
examiner and expert handwriting analyst, says it is “highly
probable” that Roy Everett signed Billy’s name to court documents
after the arrest, based on an examination of those documents and
known signatures of the brothers, shown above.
Photo
Landon W. Chambers, 16, died as a result of a traffic accident in
which he and his brother were struck by a pickup truck on Military
Highway.

Copyright (c) 2003 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0305160085