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Posted May 24, 2012 | comments 9 Comments

Reckless driving charges piling up for Edinburg man

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.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.

9 Comments | Leave a comment

    The people that should be in jail. Are not in jail. The cops do their jobs. The CA do thier jobs. The Judges are letting them out to run the roads. What is wrong with our court systems.

    The judges give to many chances to people. I just hate to see things like this happen

    Ratcliffe gets another RD. Imagine that.

    RD is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by 12mos in Jail, 2,500 fine, either or both.

    I have faith in the new CA, let's see if Ratcliffe a sentence fitting of the crime

    It was only a matter of time before he got another one. Lets hope the court system doesnt let this go this time. Seriously 2 days after he was in court? He needs to grow up and act like an adult and if he cant then he needs to stay off the roads. This young man doesnt seem to have learned his lesson

    This type of court ruling is far to common in our county. Maybe for the protection of us all, judge Tisinger should not be appointed to the new RD case for this repeat offender. She appears to be a greater danger to our community than the driver.

    If convicted, this guy will have (2)RD convictions. That is 12 points in (2) yrs. which means he will have to go take a driver improvement class. He will be fined no question. As far as jail time, don't expect it. All judges use sentencing guidelines. They have the power to exceed or go below using specifics of the case and history. They of course don't factor in cases where a defendant was aquitted like nvd commenters can.

      You know as well as I do that the state mandated driver improvement class are nothing but a legal racket. A monkey can set in school for 8hrs and regurgitate answers to a test.

      I do hope that another Judge hears this case and CA Wiseley personally prosecutes the matter.

    Since when does the newspaper report everytime someone gets a citation? There are lots of wreckless drivers on the road. We dont here about them unless there is a bad accident. Why is there a story about this guy? He was found innocent. Before anyone gets in an uproar I am not saying I think he was innocent what I think doesn't matter. I pray I never am driving on the road with him. I am just saying the newspaper does not usually follow up on everyone who gets a ticket. I bet the cops are harrassing him to, which would be a good thing but not really right.

    Prob because he was aquitted 2 days b4 he got a RD TICKET. its a story for them shows his character

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