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Posted June 6, 2012 | comments 4 Comments

Former sheriff's employee charged with felony hit and run

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

A former civilian employee of the Warren County Sheriff's Office was indicted Monday in Warren County Circuit Court on charges of felony hit and run driving and drunken driving.

Rebecca Lynn Whited, 42, of 48 Ash Road, left her Sheriff's Office job within three days after her arrest on Dec. 18. Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron refused to comment on the reasons for her departure, citing confidentiality about personnel matters.

The criminal complaint filed against Whited by state trooper Charles R. Scally states that Scally was called to the scene of an accident at Rivermont Road and U.S. 340 at about 6:10 p.m. The owner of the vehicle said the driver of the other vehicle fled the scene, the complaint states.

A few minutes later, another trooper contacted Scally about a report from the Sheriff's Office that a vehicle had been driven through someone's yard, the complaint states. The tags from the suspect vehicle matched the partial tag description Scally had obtained from the victim at the accident scene, according to the complaint. The troopers traced the vehicle to Whited's residence where she admitting to being involved in the accident at U.S. 340 and Rivermont Road, according to the complaint.

The complaint also states that Whited said the other driver told her she could leave but Scally said the victim had told him otherwise. A breath test taken after Whited's arrest registered a blood alcohol level of 0.22 grams/210 liters, according to the complaint. The legal limit is 0.08.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp set a personal recognizance bond for the felony hit and run charge and $500 unsecured bond for the drunken driving charge.

In other indictments, the circuit court grand jury charged Ashleigh Rose Wright, 22, of 481 Red Bud Lane, Front Royal, with two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer.

The criminal complaint against Wright states that she kicked Deputy Jennifer G. Mumaw twice in the stomach and head butted Mumaw twice in the nose when Mumaw tried to arrest her for public intoxication on March 3.

The grand jury also indicted Shantel Shabrae Lewis, 20, on four counts of making false statements to obtain Medicaid payments and two counts of committing forgery in an attempt to defraud Medicaid.

The indictment lists the offenses as spanning a period from March 1 to July 1, 2011.

The criminal complaint against Lewis accuses him of "submitting falsified time sheets used to bill Virginia Medicaid."

4 Comments | Leave a comment

    Something with Ms. Whited's indictment sounds VERY fishy. No damage to the other vehicle was reported. It is highly likely that the other driver did indeed tell Ms. Whited that all was OK and she could leave. In Virginia, there is no need to report an accident or exchange information if the damage is negligible.

    Could this have been a set-up? An civilian staffer to the Sheriff is involved in an accident. She is told all is OK. After she leaves the scene, the other driver calls to report the accident and charges hit and run. The Sheriff won a contested election. Sounds like his adversaries were out to get him. What better way than to go after a civilian in his office. (Deputies would be wise to the scam.)

    Knowing the likely response of judges who are former prosecutors, Ms. Whited's goose was cooked.

    On the law, there are several troubling aspects to the report. How could Ms. Whited be charged with drunk driving when no one saw her drive? The so-called sobriety test was taken well after she was gone from the scene, which itself sounds like a 4th amendment violation.

    Here we have another "he said/she said" situation. No physical evidence. No independent eyewitnesses. Only an aggressive prosecutor out to get another scalp and a judge who by training would be sympathetic to his former colleagues.

    Ms. Whited needs to contact former US Attorney General Ed Meese who is a scholar at the Heritage Foundation. Heritage is examining the shortcoming of the criminal justice system. Another good resource would be Prof. Jeff Parker at GMU law school. Prof. Parker heads up the Litigation Law track and is exuberant supporter of criminal justice reform.

    Ms. Whited is Warren County's equivalent of Susette Kelo, the gutsy lady who stood up to corrupt government and started a movement reforming eminent domain abuses. The Virginia criminal justice system is in dire need of sunshine. Reform has to start with one brave person.

    Good luck.

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