Sources say girl in Church Hill incident was on medication, not drunk

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) —Six days have passed since an incident in Church Hill was caught on tape that captured what witnesses said is a woman using a police connection to escape penalty after she allegedly ran two stop signs in Church Hill.

Police are still investigating and won’t say much.

The video was filmed early Sunday morning by Immanuel Kent, as he stood outside with his roommates in the 3000 block of E. Broad Street. The group had already been called outside after a drunk driver, who was arrested, hit several vehicles, including one owned by S. Preston Duncan.

Duncan said that the woman driving a silver Fiat, whose license plate we will not identify because the person has not been charged with a crime, nearly hit several people.

“The oncoming vehicle slammed on its brakes, swerved around the damaged vehicles, nearly hitting the cop car (lights still blaring), and is forced to a stop, right where we had all been standing, by one of the officers tending to the accident,” Duncan wrote in a post that has been shared numerous times on the Richmond Police Department’s Facebook page. 

The group began recording towards the end of the incident, when a truck pulled up and a man and woman exited. You can read details on what happened before the man she called dad arrived, according to witnesses.

The couple that arrived put the girl originally driving the Fiat into the truck and another woman drove off in the Fiat. You can see much of this happening in the video.

We tracked down the man in the yellow sweatshirt, and the driver of the car. The man in the yellow sweatshirt had told Kent to “Cut the camera off, son.”

Since no one has been charged with any crimes, we won’t tell you their names. Police sources have confirmed the identities and we have visually confirmed the vehicle and the driver.  We have seen the vehicle parked outside the owner’s place of employment.

We went by their residences and the man who answered the door–seen in yellow in the video–did not want to talk. He slammed the door in our face.

Records indicate this man is not currently an officer. His father, based on online records, appears to have been a Richmond Police officer.

Business records indicate he is a contractor. The truck that witnesses say he drove at the scene in was parked outside.

Richmond Police have confirmed the man in the yellow sweatshirt is not a Richmond police officer.

On Monday the Richmond Police Department announced they were opening an internal investigation, as dozens and dozens of people took to social media to voice their outrage of the event.

We’re continuing to ask Richmond Police where that investigation stands, and if the officer on scene faces any charges.  We’re asking if the driver was drunk and if a breathalyzer was given and if not, why not.

Multiple police sources said the driver was not drunk, but on medication. They said she was acting hysterically after picking her boyfriend up from a downtown bar. Sources also said that the boyfriend asked if they could call her family for the ride home.

Police sources said that the woman was not drunk but the officer didn’t believe either her or her boyfriend were in condition to keep driving.

Former Chesterfield Police Captain, Steve Neal said that while witnesses have one account, it may not be what it seems on the surface.

Neal added that perhaps the officer on scene did know the driver, and the man picking her up, but he added that officers are charged with using their own discretion and sometimes, arresting a person might not always be the best option.

CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone said that “eyewitness testimony is notoriously inaccurate,” and pointed out that the video supports part of what eyewitnesses said, but not the whole picture.

The witnesses have said that no backup officers ever showed up to the scene. That would mean there were no other law enforcement witnesses.

Duncan and his roommates are perplexed and said they would have been hit and likely injured if they had not jumped to the sidewalk.

“I mean, if it had been any one of us, we would have been led off in handcuffs,” Duncan said.

Stone said it’s too late for any DUI-related charge, but he added the woman could still be charged with reckless driving or failing to stop at a stop sign.

Anyone with any information about this incident was asked to call 804-646-6816.

20 comments

  • BO

    This was stupid on the Churchill residents part.they need the police response to be fast over there.No harm,no foul.

  • Glen Allen

    Ooooh, Okay, it was medication that made her drive and act like she had lost her mind. Just so long as it was not booze. Yup, that makes it all okay now. No wonder the police let daddy come get her. I don’t know why Doctor’s prescribe that stuff and don’t tell us not to drive. It was prescribed, right? I’m sure the police checked that right after her blood test. Right?

    Why is it the City of Richmond can’t just admit when the screw up instead of all the cover-ups and lies. I wonder how many black people would have been able to “just” walk away?

    • athynz

      Agreed. It does not matter if her driving was impaired by legal drugs, alcohol, or illegal drugs – bottom line is her driving was impaired and she was a danger to herself and other people.

  • Joe

    Impaired driving, either from alcohol or drugs is still Driving Under the Influence. What difference does it make if it were drugs (medication) or alcohol? She should not have been driving and should have been charged at the scene.

  • Todd

    So you guys are telling me if a family friend or someone you know well was in the situation and you could help that you wouldnt?

    Is a good thing im not your friend or family because thats not cool.

    If it was your mom or son or wife or husband or or daughter then you can not tell me you would not move heaven and earth if you had it in your power to do so.

    • athynz

      It depends. If you mean help as far as getting her and her car home then yes. If you mean help as in having her back with a possible substance abuse problem then yes.

      However – if you mean letting her get away with driving under the influence then no. Absolutely not. And that is because it is a safety issue that affects more than just her. I would not want someone on the road who’s driving is impaired to put my family and friends in danger. Would YOU?

  • Courtney

    If a friend or family member is driving drunk or driving under the influence, the only help they would get from me is by not helping them and letting them get caught and go to jail. They could kill someone or themselves. They will not learn from their mistakes unless they are made to learn.

    KAATIE will not learn, she will do it over and over because the worst that will happen is Daddy will bail her out again.

  • Doyle Hargraves

    If those spoiled little frat boys hadn’t been out on the street watching the cops arrest the first drunk driver, they wouldn’t have had to worry about being run over….they should have been inside smoking weed and playing video games like good little trust fund brats. Use your cameras for your next parent funded indie movie that you show to an audience of five at the Va Film Festival.

    • athynz

      So if they had not been in a public area giving statements to the police about the drunk driver that HAD crashed into one of the vehicles parked on the road then they would not have seen the girl under then influence of her meds blow through stop signs, almost hit cars, and them. Got it.

  • Arlo Givens

    Even if Mr. S. Preston Duncan feels like he would have been arrested for doing the same thing, his parents would have a dream team of defense lawyers to get him off the hook anyway. So, why is he so worried if this girl caught a break? WTVR this story wasn’t a story to begin with, now you are beating a dead horse. Myself, and your other six viewers are getting tired of it.

  • Phil McPhilson

    I don’t understand the commentators blaming the victims and defending the intoxicated driver. Driving under the influence, speeding and running stop signs are all crimes. The police stopped the driver because they suspected her of driving under the influence. Then instead of doing a sobriety test they released her. That’s negligent on their part.

  • Sandra

    Don’t worry because she will get busted the next time. Unfortunately, it might be more serious. Dad jumped right in like he was Olivia Pope, cleaning up her mess. Did the police actually see her run the stop signs or did it come from witnesses. If not she won’t even be charged.

  • paul

    driving under th einfluence of medication is the same charge as DUI and she should have been taekn to VCU for a blood draw

  • Citizen Kane

    “officers are charged with using their own discretion and sometimes, arresting a person might not always be the best option.”

    Oh. Okay. Is that discretion allowed to be swayed by personal connections to law enforcement? If so this would make a lot more sense. What about the tickets for running the stop signs? What about reckless driving? No field sobriety tests done? You know, just to see if she was drunk or intoxicated on medications considering her actions were so belligerent?

    Meanwhile, in the city some Joe Schmoe gets a ticket for not coming to a complete stop and turning through a stop sign at 2 miles per hour with no traffic on the road.

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