Archive 2006 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Mother of Va. Beach Man Killed In Crash Sues Driver

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)


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

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 in punitive damages.

Copyright (c) 2006 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 12375890

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



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)

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

Archive 2002 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot


Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

April 6, 2002

The local president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants the city’s chief prosecutor to get involved in an involuntary manslaughter case involving a teen-ager charged this week.

Sara J. Becker, 18, was charged Sunday in connection with the death of a 20-year-old Virginia Beach man at the Oceanfront.

Mike Goodove, president of the Southside MADD, criticized the decision by Magistrate B.B. Cowell to set Becker free on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond while she awaits trial.

“This is shocking in a manslaughter case,” Goodove said. “It sends an inappropriate message to the community.”

Goodove called for Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey L. Bryant III to ask for a hearing in front of a judge to reconsider the bond.

Becker, a college student who lives in Richmond, was driving a 2002 Honda Civic early Sunday morning on Baltic Avenue near 27th Street when she struck a pedestrian, police said.

She was charged with involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence and faces up to 11 years in prison.

The pedestrian, Joshua A. Davis, of the 500 block of Fountain Lake Drive, was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in Becker’s automobile suffered minor injuries.

Becker was not injured.

Her blood-alcohol level was .10, according to police. The legal limit in Virginia is .08.

Goodove said the court must determine whether Becker has an alcohol problem that would pose a threat. If a judge examines the case, Goodove said, more time could be spent investigating the woman’s background.

“It would be good to have another set of eyes look at her,” he said.

Bryant said on Friday that he had no specific information about the case. But he promised to “look into it.”

Becker’s bond was handled like all others involving a suspect charged by warrant and taken before a magistrate, Bryant said. In such cases, he explained, prosecutors aren’t involved.

The Virginia Beach magistrate’s office works under the chief judge of the Circuit Court, Thomas S. Shadrick.

Decisions about bonds – whether issued by a magistrate or a judge – are made after determining whether the person poses a public safety threat or a flight risk and whether the case is strong, Bryant said.

Virginia Beach Chief Magistrate Robert S. Hill Jr. could not be reached for comment Friday.

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

Sara Becker, charged with involuntary manslaughter and driving under
the influence, is free on bond.
Harvey L. Bryant III, chief prosecutor, is being asked to seek a
hearing to reconsider bond for Becker.

Copyright (c) 2002 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0204060095

Archive 1996 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot


A drunken driver who killed a teenager on New Year’s Day has agreed to an unusual settlement of the lawsuit against him: He will pay $100 to the boy’s school every year on the anniversary of the teen’s death.

And he will do it for 14 years – once a year for every year of the dead boy’s life.

The settlement was the idea of Michael L. Goodove, a Norfolk lawyer who lost his own brother to a drunken driver in Charlottesville in 1990.

The settlement also gives $100,000 to the dead boy’s family, the maximum under the driver’s insurance policy, before lawyer fees are deducted. The $100-a-year payment is above and beyond the insurance.

Norfolk Judge John E. Clarkson approved the settlement Friday.

“I insisted on something from the driver personally,” said Goodove, who represents the dead boy’s family and is chairman of the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “It sends a message to him, it sends a message to other offenders, and it memorializes the victim.”

The victim was 14-year-old Ernest “Smokey” Hunt of Chesapeake, an articulate, well-liked honor student at Deep Creek Middle School. He was sleeping in the back of a car driven by his brother when a drunken driver plowed into the car’s rear, pinning the teen inside.

“He did everything right,” Goodove said. “He was an honor student, he was college-bound. By all indications, he was going to make it. Then a drunk driver got him.”

The accident happened at 3 a.m. New Year’s Day on Interstate 264 near the Berkley Bridge.

The drunken driver – Steve F. Morris, 23, of Chesapeake – pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence. He was sentenced to two years and 11 months in prison.

Morris had an extensive driving record, including four previous convictions for speeding and one for driving on a suspended license, Goodove said.

At Morris’ sentencing in August, Hunt’s relatives described the devastation the accident caused their family.

“My father just sits around thinking of things to do to get his mind off of Smokey,” said Hunt’s brother, Chantalle, in a written statement. “Most of the time my dad keeps to himself. That hurts knowing how he feels. . . It is hard living in a house that nobody wants to be in. I had plans to move out, but now I’m scared to.”

The boy’s mother, Edna R. Floyd, wrote, “There is no more joy and laughter in my household, only the pain and lots of tears. My family is very, very afraid that I die, too, because my pain is so great. My husband watches over me at night so that I will not hurt myself.”

Teachers wrote about what an extraordinary student Ernest was. He was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the school’s XLR-8 team.

“He was a very positive, upbeat young man who was willing to give of himself. Whenever anything needed to be done, he volunteered,” wrote one teacher, V.E. Valentine.

“Ernest was a joy to teach and was an exemplary student,” wrote five teachers in the XLR-8 program. “Academically, Ernest maintained the honor roll every year of his life. He worked diligently to reap these honors. His polite and trusting manner brought a smile to the faces of his teachers.”

The boy’s future seemed bright. Last year, he wrote an upbeat poem about himself titled “Me.” In it, he described himself as “a young, ambitious black male” who feels sadness in the world but tries to “touch the hearts of everyone around me.”

“I dream every night I go to bed. I try to make the best out of life. I hope everything I want will soon be mine,” he wrote.

Hunt’s family sued Morris for the boy’s “wrongful death” in Norfolk Circuit Court. Normally, such cases are settled for whatever insurance is available.

In this case, however, Goodove insisted that Morris write a check to Hunt’s school every year on the anniversary of Hunt’s death, as a reminder to himself and the community of the teen’s life.

It is not known what the school will do with the money.

“My son believed that education was the key to success and to a bright future,” his mother wrote in June. “Therefore, I feel that part of Mr. Morris’ sentence should be to donate his income to Deep Creek Middle School, towards education so that we can have better people and less crime.”

Morris will write the first check on Jan. 1, 2000 – the first New Year’s Day that he will be free from prison.

[Color Photo]
Ernest “Smokey” Hunt was 14 when he was killed on Jan. 1.

This poem was written last year by Ernest “Smokey” Hunt. He was
killed Jan. 1, 1996, by a drunken driver.
I am a young, ambitious, black male.
I wonder if I will ever live a successful life.
I hear the roaring of the sun’s massive power.
I see myself living exactly the way I want.
I want to be well-liked by everybody.
I am a young, ambitious, black male.

I pretend to be happy.
I feel the sadness of the world.
I touch the hearts of everyone around me.
I worry about nothing.
I am a young, ambitious, black male.

I understand that nothing in this world is free.
I say go with the flow.
I dream every night I go to bed.
I try to make the best out of life.
I hope everything I want will soon be mine.
I am a young, ambitious black male.

Copyright (c) 1996 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9611120217