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Ted Linhart hopes others learn from his driving ‘mistake’

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GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. - Dominion Auto Group president Ted Linhart said he was embarrassed as he left Goochland court Monday. A judge sentenced Linhart to 12 months in jail, suspending all but one month, after he convicted him of Driving While Intoxicated. The judge also suspended Linhart's driver's license.

Ted Linhart outside of Goochland court. (PHOTO: Wayne Covil)

Ted Linhart outside of Goochland court. (PHOTO: Wayne Covil)

Linhart said a Goochland Sheriff's Deputy stopped him driving the wrong way on Interstate 64, near mile marker 152, in March.

"Nothing like this has ever happened in my life," Linhart said following his conviction. "I accept full responsibility for what happened."

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Linhart said he drove home after having a glass of wine at a dinner party. He said the wine combined with drugs his doctor prescribed and created a dangerous mix. His Blood Alcohol Content was .15.

"I literally had no cognitive knowledge I was on the wrong side of the road," he said. "It's a lesson to all of us. When they give you that little piece of paper with your prescription, it's meant to be read and you really need to understand that there are unforeseen consequences of mixing a legally prescribed medication given by a licensed physician and an alcoholic beverage."

Linhart apologized to his family, friends, customers and employees. He said he hoped his punishment would help send a message to the community.

"On the one hand it's easy to say that after 43 years of service to the community, you'd like to think that that would count for something," he said about his jail sentence. "By the same token, there's been many, many fatalities and serious accidents in Goochland. I understand there's a problem. I'm in the automobile business and I certainly support safe driving. So if it's necessary to make an example of a higher profile figure to drive the point home that this is something the administration and police department  takes seriously, not depending on whom the offender is, then I can accept that as hopefully a cure for the situation."

Linhart said he has leaned on his family and close friends following his arrest. He also thanked the sheriff's deputy who pulled him over before anyone got hurt.

Linhart can apply for a restrictive driver's license. If he get one, he he must get an ignition interlock system designed to prevent future DWIs.