Driver with children clocked at 102 mph on I-81

WOODSTOCK – A Georgia woman accused of driving 102 mph on Interstate 81 in Shenandoah County with children in her car entered a plea deal Wednesday to avoid jail time.

Tonice K. Eden pleaded guilty in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday to committing one count each of reckless driving for traveling at a speed in excess of 80 mph and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in an incident that occurred April 21.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp amended the original indictment charging Eden, 26, with child endangerment, a Class 6 felony, to the misdemeanor offense of contributing to the delinquency of a child, under an agreement reached between her lawyer, Thomas Soldan, and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Angela Landes. Hupp also dismissed a second count of child endangerment at the prosecution’s request and under terms of the agreement.

The judge sentenced Eden to 30 days in jail, all time suspended, for reckless driving. The judge ordered Eden to serve one year of unsupervised probation and to pay fines and court costs. Eden had no prior criminal or traffic convictions, according to information provided by Landes.

State trooper V.O. Evans stopped Eden at 11:15 p.m. April 21 while running radar in the area of the 282 mile marker, about a mile south of Woodstock, on northbound Interstate 81, according to court documents. The vehicle entered the radar beam traveling at 102 mph and exited at 99 mph, Landes told the court, citing the trooper’s report. The speed limit in the area of the interstate is 70 mph. The trooper also stated a tail light on the vehicle was out.

When asked why she was speeding, Eden told the trooper she didn’t know the speed limit. Eden said she was driving to see her mother in a hospital. The trooper reported seeing two children in the back of the vehicle, ages 6 and 8. The trooper arrested Eden on a charge of reckless driving and two counts of child endangerment. The officer also contacted child protective services, according to the report.

Hupp asked Eden why she drove as fast as she did. Eden said her mother was in a hospital intensive care unit in Pennsylvania. When Hupp asked Eden why she was traveling from Georgia to Pennsylvania, the defendant said she used to live in Pennsylvania but moved out of the state after being involved in a domestic violence situation.

“I learned a valuable lesson,” Eden told Hupp.

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