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Archive 2012 STS&G News Goodove in the News

Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz & Goodove, P.C. Law Office Building

On January 1, 2012, Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz & Goodove, P.C. relocated to its new law office building in historic downtown Norfolk. The firm continues its practice in the areas of personal injury, criminal and trial law. The new address is 220 West Freemason Street, Norfolk, VA 23510. We are located on the corner of Freemason and Duke Street in historic downtown Norfolk and handle cases all throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are located within blocks of both the Norfolk Federal Courthouse and the Norfolk Circuit, General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts.

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

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

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Archive 1999 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

HURT RIDER OF MONSTER TRUCK SUES 3 PARTIES

A teacher who lost the use of her right hand after a monster truck flipped last year at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront while carrying 13 thrill-seekers is suing the truck’s driver, owner and the truck show’s organizer.

Joy Kubitza, 28, of Virginia Beach, was a paying passenger in the 4×4 monster truck, called the Grave Digger, when it suddenly flipped on the beach while doing high-speed twists and turns at a Monster Truck Show on Oct. 17.

She seeks $15 million in damages.

At the time of the crash, police said none of the thrill-seekers was seriously hurt. After the truck overturned, all 13 passengers were dangling upside down, strapped into their seats. Six passengers, ranging in age from 2 to 52, were treated at a hospital and released.

Kubitza said her right arm was crushed between the truck and the sand as it flipped. She was treated at a hospital, but she said doctors did not realize at the time how serious the hand injury was.

A few days later, Kubitza’s arm swelled to about three times its normal size. Since then, she has undergone four surgeries, with a fifth scheduled for later this month. She has spent 12 weeks hospitalized and has medical bills totaling more than $100,000.

She wears a “fixator” device, a series of rods to keep her wrist steady. And she has developed a condition in which her fingers have become twisted and useless.

As a result, Kubitza had to quit her job as a preschool teacher at the Norfolk Naval Base Child Development Center. She continues to suffer constant, burning pain up and down her arm.

“It’s all the time, the pain,” Kubitza said. “It’s burning, sharp, intense. It’s like somebody is constantly putting a fire under my arm.” She takes pain medication, “but nothing seems to take the burning away,” she said.

Her attorneys, O.L. “Buzz” Gilbert and Michael L. Goodove, filed suit last week in Norfolk Circuit Court. They believe this is the first lawsuit stemming from the accident, and that Kubitza was the worst-injured passenger.

The lawsuit names three defendants: the truck’s driver, Troy L. Vinson of Chesapeake; the truck’s owner, Gravedigger 4×4 Inc. of North Carolina; and the truck show organizer, Cellar Door Entertainment Inc. of Virginia Beach.

The accident happened at the first Monster Truck Show at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Thousands of spectators came that day to cheer on trucks with names like Carolina Crusher, Nitemare and The Undertaker that raced over manmade sand dunes.

Farther down the resort strip, customers paid $5 each to ride in the Grave Digger, billed as “the world’s best-known monster truck” – a 1950 Chevrolet panel van with skull, crossbones and tombstone images painted on its sides. The cab is more than 10 feet off the ground.

As the truck raced around the beach, something went wrong. One passenger said at the time that the truck was “doing doughnuts” – tight turns in the sand – and was going fast when he thought, “Gee, we could tip over.” And then it did.

Another driver at the show said a wave caught the Grave Digger’s right rear tire and flipped the truck. Gilbert, however, said Wednesday that other witnesses did not see a wave and that the truck did not flip at the shoreline.

Police later said Vinson was driving at an unsafe speed, but because the accident did not happen on a road, he was not charged.

Kubitza declined to say how the accident happened.

The lawsuit accuses Vinson and the Gravedigger company of negligently operating the truck. It accuses Cellar Door of negligently supervising the truck and negligently selecting and preparing the site and production.

Vinson and officials from Gravedigger could not be reached for comment. Cellar Door officials declined to comment.

Despite the accident, the Grave Digger is scheduled to appear again at this year’s Monster Truck Show, Oct. 15 to 17 at the Oceanfront.

Kubitza has advice for anyone thinking of riding in the truck: “No way. Don’t go on it.”

Caption:
Color Photo
JOHN H. SHEALLY II/File photo
The Gravedigger was carrying 13 passengers on the sand and doing
high-speed twists and turns at the time of the October 1998 mishap.

Copyright (c) 1999 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 9909090486