School Principal from North Carolina Facing Felony Charges in Virginia Accident
A North Carolina school principal faces felony charges in the aftermath of an accident involving a minor. In addition to reckless driving, he is charged with fleeing the scene of an accident. Rickey Eley has resigned from his job as principal of Bertie High School in Windsor, NC, according to reports.
His attorney claims that he did not in fact leave the scene of the accident and that this was a mistake in the report. However, he was arrested in another town other than the one in which the accident occurred and is also alleged to have switched seats with his passenger after the accident. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident was a teenager, who has claimed nearly $5,000 in property damage and injuries.
The key issue is a dispute over which driver had a red light when the two collided in the intersection. If Mr. Eley in fact had a red light, it amounts to reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor.
Reckless driving is a more serious matter in Virginia than in many other states, where it is a mere traffic infraction. Many out-of-state residents driving in Virginia learn the hard way that reckless driving is actually a criminal offense, carrying consequences potentially far more severe than a mark on your driving record. In this case, the incident has already cost Mr. Eley his job even though he has not yet been convicted.
However, even reckless driving, standing alone, is generally not enough to cost you your job unless you hold a commercial driver’s license or are otherwise required to drive as a part of your employment. The more serious charges in this case are the allegations of leaving the scene and making false statements to the police.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Regardless of the cause of an accident, a driver always has a duty to stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in which there is an injury, death, or property damage of over $1,000 is a felony. However this accident started, it became a far more serious criminal matter when Mr. Eley left the scene. While the defendant in this case denies the charge of leaving the scene, if it is true, it is very serious. According to Mr. Eley’s attorney, “This case is a good example of why people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. I expect the charge to be dismissed after a judge hears the evidence.”
That said, much of the evidence reported so far does not look good for Mr. Eley. At worst, he ran a red light, switched seats with his passenger to make it seem that he was not driving, left the scene of an accident in which he injured a high school student, and lied to the police. Any of these facts, if true, increase the severity of the crime.
Contact a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are charged with a criminal offense, whether it be reckless driving or something more serious such as a felony, you need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Simms Showers in Leesburg, we have the skill and experience to ensure that you receive fair and impartial treatment through the legal system. We fight for the presumption of innocence, and we will fight to make sure that you are not prejudiced by the initial accusation. Call us today for a free consultation.