olice chases end in jail time
Two Richmond men, both on trial for separate incidents that involved police chases, are serving time behind bars after pleading guilty to charges in Charles City Circuit Court.
Richard Mandrell Byrd, 34, of 509 Pulaski Ave., and Maurice Hudson, 35, of 1615 Thalia Crescent Road, entered guilty pleas on a pair of charges each as part of separate plea deals reached on Oct. 24.
Byrd was indicted in September on one count each of eluding police and driving after being declared a habitual offender. Both are felonies.
Last June 29, Byrd led a Charles City deputy on a four-mile chase at speeds up to 100 miles per hour after the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle the defendant was driving for speeding on Barnetts Road.
After Byrd stopped the vehicle, he fled on foot, but a passenger stayed behind and identified Byrd as the driver, prosecutor Rob Tyler told the court. The car’s owner also told deputies she had loaned the car to Byrd. Five hours later, Byrd was picked up as he walked along Route 60 in New Kent, the prosecutor added.
While the plea deal did not involve amending the charges, it called for Byrd to receive five years in prison on both counts with all but 14 months suspended for the next 10 years. The sentences represent a midpoint for time to be served under the state’s sentencing guidelines.
Tyler, meanwhile, told the court that Byrd has a long criminal history that includes seven felony convictions and a number of misdemeanor violations. Among the convictions are three for cocaine possession and a pair for assaulting a police officer.
“That record should be cause for exceeding the guidelines, but I’m going to follow the plea agreement,” Judge Thomas B. Hoover said.
Byrd apologized to the deputy and the court for his actions.
“I’m glad you didn’t kill somebody,” the judge responded. “If you come back here, it will not be treated lightly, and your record indicates you will be back here.”
In the other case, Hudson was indicted in September for felony eluding and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license.
Hudson attempted to have his trial postponed, first by claiming he needed time to arrange for care for his nine-month-old nephew and to vote and then by trying to replace his court-appointed attorney. Hoover was not swayed.
“You’re just simply playing games with the court,” the judge told the defendant, threatening to place Hudson in jail until a future trial date.
Hudson then tried another ploy, saying he wanted to contest the charges and not plead guilty under the plea deal. Hoover countered by suggesting a Nov. 21 trial date and holding Hudson in jail until then. After a brief, recess, Hudson changed his tune, opting to proceed with the plea agreement.
Last June 23, a Charles City deputy attempted to stop the car Hudson was driving. A chase at speeds up to 60 miles per hour ensued on Adkins Road. The car turned on to Holly Tree Lane where Hudson bailed out of the still moving vehicle before the car struck an embankment, Tyler told the court.
Deputies found Hudson hiding nearby, at which time he told investigators that two passengers riding with him had told him to flee, the prosecutor added.
Defense attorney Vinceretta Chiles asked the court to delay her client’s jail sentence for two weeks. She said Hudson has no prior felony offenses and was confused by earlier court proceedings and not trying to delay trial or manipulate the court. Hoover refused.
“Viewing Mr. Hudson today, he gave frivolous reasons for delay and made false complaints against his attorney,” Hoover said. The judge also noted three previous failure to appear in court violations on Hudson’s record.
Hudson told the court he was not the type of person who would fail to show up to begin his sentence in two weeks.
“If I was, I wouldn’t be here today,” he told the judge.
“But you give frivolous reasons and then you jump out of a rolling car and further elude police,” Hoover shot back. “That gives me further concern that you’ll not appear in two weeks.”
Following terms of the plea deal, Hoover sentenced Hudson to five years in prison with all but one suspended for the next 10 years on the eluding count. The judge imposed 12 months in jail, all suspended, on the driving suspended charge.