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No double jeopardy issue in police chase case

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//March 7, 2023

No double jeopardy issue in police chase case

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//March 7, 2023

Where appellant was convicted of eluding the police in one county, double jeopardy principles do not prevent his prosecution in another county for eluding because there were two separate incidents.

Two separate acts

“The only relevant inquiry in this case is whether Wilson committed a separate offense of eluding in Pittsylvania County.

“Without question, Wilson eluded police in Henry County. Officers in Henry County alerted officers in Pittsylvania County of that fact and gave them a detailed description of the car. However, by the time Deputy Hammock located Wilson’s car in Pittsylvania County, the Henry County pursuit had already been terminated and no other police units were in pursuit.

“Indeed, Deputy Hammock first noticed Wilson ten to fifteen miles away from the Henry County line, and there were no police vehicles in pursuit. Deputy Hammock then observed Wilson run a stop sign.

“When Deputy Hammock attempted a traffic stop, Wilson sped up and led Deputy Hammock and other officers on a lengthy police chase.

“Wilson weaved in and out of traffic at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour and eventually hit Trooper Gregory’s vehicle and collided with Deputy Hammock’s vehicle, causing Deputy Hammock to go over the embankment on the right-hand side of the road.

“Both police vehicles sustained extensive damage. Wilson then continued to drive at high rates of speed all the way to Campbell County.

“On these facts, it is clear that the act of eluding police in Pittsylvania County, though in temporal proximity, was not a continuation of his eluding in Henry County.

“Wilson’s actions in Pittsylvania County involved a new formation and implementation of purpose after he ran a stop sign, failed to submit to a traffic stop, and then involved a number of different police victims in a new chase through Pittsylvania County.

“Thus, the evidence supports the trial court’s finding that Wilson committed two separate and distinct acts of felony eluding; one in Henry County and one in Pittsylvania County. As the trial court correctly found, this was not one continuous act.”

Wilson v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0435-22-3, Feb. 21, 2023. CAV unpublished opinion (Athey). From the Circuit Court of Pittsylvania County. (Moreau). Joseph A. Sanzone for appellant. Jason S. Miyares, John Beamer for appellee. VLW 023-7-089, 5 pp.

VLW 023-7-089

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