Vehicle thief sentenced on handgun theft charge

Donald Fox III

WOODSTOCK – A Fort Valley man pleaded guilty Friday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to three counts of vehicle theft, all of them on the same day, but it was a gun theft several months earlier that landed Donald Fox III in bigger trouble.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp sentenced Fox to two years in prison, the mandatory minimum required by state law, for possessing a handgun after being convicted in juvenile and domestic relations court of an offense that would have been classified as a felony in adult court.

Fox was also sentenced to one year in prison on each of the vehicle thefts, and one year each on two other counts, all of them suspended.

Fox, 19, formerly of 1511 Boliver Road, is facing the possibility of a much longer prison sentence in Kentucky where he has been charged with attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer. The charge stems from an incident in which law enforcement officials say Fox stole a police car and led them on a chase at speeds reaching 128 mph.

Fox was arrested in Laurel, Kentucky, on Jan. 19, three days after he went on a vehicle theft spree around Mount Jackson and New Market.

Court and police records state he stole a 1990 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, an unspecified car that he crashed at the top of New Market Mountain, and a 2006 Toyota Corolla, all within the space of a few hours of each other.

A criminal complaint against Fox states a warrant for his arrest was issued after authorities learned he was being detained in Kentucky.

The gun was stolen on Sept. 19 and led to the charge of illegally possessing a firearm after the conviction in juvenile and domestic relations court.

Law enforcement officials in Kentucky state that Fox came to their attention on Jan. 19 when he ran a red light in Laurel and hit another vehicle. He drove another two miles before the car succumbed to damage from the crash, and he fled on foot, authorities said.

A police officer chased Fox, but the defendant jumped into the officer’s squad car and took off, law enforcement officials said. A sheriff’s deputy and state police trooper chased Fox, who momentarily came to a stop, authorities said. The deputy left his car and narrowly missed being run over when Fox took off again and drove the stolen police car at him, authorities reported.

The deputy fired three shots at the rear tires of the fleeing police car, law enforcement officials said. A rear tire blew out and the pursuing deputy managed to halt the stolen police car by performing a bumping maneuver that disabled it, authorities said.

Fox fled on foot, but the pursuing deputy caught and subdued him while using a Taser during their scuffle, law enforcement officials said.

Fox’s attorney, C. Todd Gilbert, told Hupp that he believed the attempted capital murder charge was “the least likely to survive” of the several charges Fox faces in Kentucky.

“We don’t believe the evidence will show he attempted to do anybody harm,” Gilbert said of his client.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com