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Posted May 24, 2012 | 9 Comments
Reckless driving charges piling up for Edinburg man
By Joe Beck -- email@example.com
A driver acquitted in late March of a misdemeanor reckless driving charge linked to a fatal crash is back in court on another reckless driving charge.
Sean Michael Ratcliffe's latest citation came on March 29, two days after Shenandoah County General District Court Judge Amy Tisinger ruled that his action did not incite a race that led to the death of a passenger in another vehicle.
Ratcliffe, 21, of 2756 Ridge Hollow Road, Edinburg, was also fined $400 for reckless driving in May 2011 and paid a $114 fine for a speeding citation in 2010, according to Shenandoah County General District Court records.
The complaint in the latest case states that Jason L. Street of the state patrol saw Ratcliffe popping wheelies on his motorcycle on Reservoir Road and Hisey Avenue around 1 p.m. Street's complaint states that he stopped Ratcliffe outside a store and identified him through his Virginia driver's license.
Ratcliffe is scheduled to appear in General District Court at 2 p.m. July 31.
The reckless driving charge that ended in acquittal earlier this year arose from an accident in December 29, 2010 on U.S. 11 just north of Woodstock. Authorities accused Ratcliffe of inciting what Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ryan King called "a pick-up" race between himself and the driver of a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse, Michael McDaniel.
Police accounts said Ratcliffe, driving a Toyota Scion, tried to pass McDaniel and increased speed when McDaniel did the same.
McDaniel's car crashed and ejected passenger Chad Allen Neff. Neff, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Trooper D.R. Gray, a crash reconstruction investigator, testified at the trial that McDaniel's car was probably traveling more than 90 mph before veering off the road and smashing into rocks and an embankment.
Tisinger granted a motion by defense attorney William A. "Beau" Bessler to strike evidence presented by King, a decision that amounted to finding Ratcliffe not guilty.
"There's nothing the court can do to put people back where they were on Dec. 29, 2010," Tisinger said in explaining her ruling.