Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 24, 2022
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 24, 2022//
Where appellant “consumed alcohol,” put four children in her car without protective seats or restraints, lost control of the car on a curve while attempting to use her cellphone, hit trees and rolled the car twice, injuring the children, she was correctly convicted of felony child neglect.
Code § 18.2-371.1(B) provides that “Any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a child under the age of 18 whose willful act or omission in the care of such child was so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life is guilty of a Class 6 felony.”
More than ‘tragic accident’
“Appellant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to sustain her conviction because it proved ‘nothing more than a tragic accident.’ We disagree. … ‘[T]he Commonwealth’s evidence must establish by the totality of the circumstances’ that the defendant engaged in conduct that she knew or should have known ‘created the probability of a substantial risk of death or serious injury to her child.’ …
“The record established that appellant consumed alcohol and failed to properly restrain her three-year-old passenger before driving ‘really fast’ on a curved road while using a cell phone, causing an accident of such magnitude as to twice overturn the vehicle and eject children to their injury.
“In addition, contrary to appellant’s assertion on brief, appellant’s manner of driving clearly was reckless. Collectively, that evidence amply supports the trial court’s conclusion that the evidence proved appellant’s guilt under Code § 18.2-371.1(B).
Rose v. Commonwealth, Record No. 1114-21-2, July 19, 2022. CAV (Haley Jr.) From the Circuit Court of Dinwiddie County (Teefey Jr.) Steven P. Hanna for appellant. William K. Hamilton, Jason S. Miyares for appellee. VLW 022-7-271, 5 pp. Unpublished opinion.