New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | October 16, 2018

Drugs, gun found in car after chase send Richmond man to prison for seven-and-a-half years

By Andre Jones | April 30, 2018 9:28 pm

A Richmond man will spend the next seven-and-a-half years in prison after entering Alford Pleas of guilt to multiple charges stemming from a Nov. 18, 2017 high-speed chase in New Kent.

Derrell Keith Williams, 34, accepted a plea agreement during Monday morning proceedings in New Kent Circuit Court. Williams entered Alford pleas of guilt to one charge each of possession of a weapon by a violent felon, felony eluding of police, an amended charge to possession of cocaine (originally possession of cocaine with intent to distribute), an amended charge of possession of cocaine while in possession of a gun (originally possession of cocaine with intent to distribute while in possession of a gun), misdemeanor DUI (first offense), misdemeanor driving revoked (first offense), refusing to take a blood/breathalyzer test, and driving without headlights on. An Alford Plea of guilt means while the defendant maintains his innocence, evidence presented in the case would be enough to convict him of the crimes.

In a summary of evidence provided by Commonwealth’s Attorney Linwood Gregory, at 1:22 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2017, Trooper Jonathan Miles along with Trooper trainee D.B. Jackson was monitoring eastbound Interstate 64 traffic at mile marker 212 when a vehicle entered the radar at 85 miles per hour in a posted 70 miles per hour zone. As the trooper’s car followed that vehicle, they observed a black Lincoln Sedan driving erratically across the center line. The trooper terminated pursuing the first vehicle and turned his attention to the black Sedan. After attempting to stop the new target, the black Sedan accelerated, and a high-speed chase began. Speeds of the chase reached 130 miles per hour, with the suspect turning off his headlights and weaving around other vehicles. The suspect’s car loss control around the 218-mile marker, spinning out in the roadway before crashing in the embankment. The suspect bailed from the vehicle and a foot pursuit began with the troopers catching up with the suspect.

Upon his arrest, the suspect, now identified as Williams, had a bag of a white powdery substance in his hand. Trooper Miles also indicated he noticed the same substance under the suspect’s nose. Williams told the trooper that he had been sniffing the substance and that “I should have known better.”

The troopers returned to Williams’ vehicle, discovering more of the powdery substance, later identified as cocaine through the defendant’s confession. As the troopers continued to search the vehicle, a semi-automatic weapon was located on the right side of the driver’s seat. In addition, a gun box with a magazine casing was found in the trunk. Other items located in the vehicle included cash, digital scales, and multiple cell phones that had cocaine on them as well.

Under the plea agreement, Williams received a five-year sentence on the possession of a weapon by a violent felon, with all time being mandatory under state law. He received another five-year sentence on the possession of cocaine charge while in possession of a gun, with three years suspended (the remaining two years are mandatory under state statute). He also will serve six months of mandatory time (with four years, six months suspended), on the felony eluding of police conviction. Ten years on the possession of cocaine charge and six months on the misdemeanor DUI (first offense) time were all suspended. He must also pay $650 in fine (with $250) on fines stemming from the other charges.

In an unrelated case, a Henrico man will serve seven months in jail after receiving formal sentencing stemming from a crime committed on Oct. 2, 2017.

Joshua Lewis Francis, 22, of the 5600 block of Lakeside Drive, entered guilty pleas during a Jan. 29 trial to three counts of credit card larceny and one count of grand larceny. During that trial, Francis admitted stealing cards and jewelry from the home of Robert Wilson where he was working on as a member of a construction crew.

Francis received a 10-year sentence with nine years, five months suspended on the first credit card larceny charge. Ten years on each of the three remaining charges were suspended.