WOODSTOCK — The Commonwealth's Attorney Office is seeking a direct indictment of Strasburg Mayor Richard Orndorff Jr. in a case involving accusations that he drove under the influence and registered a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit.
Amanda Strecky, assistant commonwealth’s attorney, told a judge in Shenandoah County General District Court on Tuesday that the state plans to stop prosecuting that case for now in General District Court. Instead, it will focus on reintroducing the same charges against him in Circuit Court and consolidating them with several other fraud-related charges he is facing.
Orndorff has had three separate court cases this year - the DUI case from a May incident, the now-dismissed citizen recall petition, and fraud charges recently filed by Virginia State Police.
In October, Orndorff was served with “several direct indictments,” Strecky said, and “the commonwealth wants to proceed with charges in court.”
Orndorff and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office were moving back and forth between Shenandoah County general district and Shenandoah County circuit courts for the DUI and fraud cases.
Phil Griffin II, Orndorff’s attorney, started to object to the commonwealth’s request, offering an alternative of meeting again at a later date and requesting a discovery order. However, Judge Amy Tisinger said the commonwealth’s request to consolidate its charges in court were reasonable.
Tisinger told Orndorff the commonwealth would still be able to bring these charges back against him in Circuit Court if he is not indicted.
Tisinger did not indicate a date Orndorff or Griffin would need to appear in court because their appearance is pending on indictments.
In May, Orndorff allegedly drove an all-terrain vehicle off Main Street in downtown Strasburg, crashing into the library and sustaining serious injuries that kept him in the hospital for months. State police investigated the incident, charging him with driving under the influence, his second such charge within five years.
Orndorff’s prolonged absence and subsequent legal troubles spawned a local effort to submit a petition to remove him from office.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney's Office represents the citizens who submitted the petition but recently requested the petition be non-suited after the office and Griffin identified several issues with the way the petition was written and filed. Griffin is seeking to have taxpayers pay Orndorff’s legal fees for that case and submitted an itemized expense sheet to the court last week.
The other active case the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has against Orndorff stems from the fraud charges. Orndorff was indicted on four counts of unauthorized use of an unspecified combination of food stamps, electronic benefit transfer cards or similar "devices" and two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, all spanning between July 2017 and September 2018.
Orndorff will appear in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on the fraud charges at 1 p.m. Dec. 4.