Mother forgives Midlothian man arrested after crash killed her son

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ASHLAND, Va. -- A Midlothian man was arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless driving following a crash that killed a Caroline County father. Walter D. Potter, 63, of Fairlington Lane, was driving the 1998 Ford van that rear-ended Floyd F. Robinson, Jr.'s 2004 Honda Civic setting off a chain of events that eventually lead to Robinson's death.

Walter D. Potter (PHOTO: Pamunkey Regional Jail)

Walter D. Potter (PHOTO: Pamunkey Regional Jail)

"The investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released," Hanover County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Chris Whitley wrote in an email. Investigators asked anyone who may have additional information about this crash contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at (804) 365-6140.

Despite losing her son in the crash, Gwendolyn Robinson has found it in her heart to forgive.

"I have to forgive him because my God says I have to forgive him," a heart-broken Robinson said. "I hope his heart is as heavy as my heart."

Floyd Robinson, Sr., said while he also is able to forgive Potter, she said he believed Potter should be slapped with a stiff prison sentence, if convicted.

"I had been relieved that there was an arrest and I was relieved for a while you know what I mean, but I think they should give him like 20 years," Robinson, Sr. said.

Potter faces up to a year in jail and/or a $2500 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor reckless driving. CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone said prosecutors would have a difficult time proving manslaughter in this case.

“You don`t punish the man based on the level of the tragedy," Stone said. "You punish the man for his actions and his negligence."

Robinson was stopped on Route 1 Tuesday afternoon as he waited to turn into a car dealership to see a friend, investigators and family members said. When Potter's van ran into Robinson's car, it pushed the car into oncoming traffic and threw Robinson and his children from the vehicle.

Ashland wreck

While lying on the road, Robinson was hit by another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at VCU Medical Center. His children, six-year-old Tiara and 11-year-old Tashawn, were seriously injured in the crash.

"He really loved his kids. He would want them to go on and excel in life and do their best to make something out of their lives,” Robinson’s sister Stacy Dabney said. “I will tell them even though he’s not here he is still here looking down on them."

Floyd F. Robinson, Jr.

Robinson Jr. lived with his wife and four children in Bowling Green where he worked for Caroline County Schools as a janitor at Bowling Green Elementary School. Family members said he was the family jokester and had an outgoing personality.

The Robinson family said no matter how much jail time Potter may get, it still doesn`t bring back their son.

"I know accidents happen, but he is still alive and he took my son," Gwendolyn Robinson said.

No one answered the door Friday at Potter's Midlothian home. He is due back in court on Friday, August 22.


  • wiseman

    A trailor trash redneck drunk. Let see how much time he will get. Misdemeaner..Are they kidding. It should be murder. I bet if it had been the other was around it would not been misdemeaner.

    • athynz

      Right, right and the fact that they weren’t wearing seatbelts makes no difference at all? Sorry “wise”man all involved screwed up. Just because the guy rear ended a vehicle driving a van does not make him a redneck – that’s sloppy thinking at best and not very “wise” of you. And no, if it was flipped there would be no difference in opinion or punishment.

      • Troll

        athynz is the expert on “sloppy thinking” and “not very wise”. You don’t know the first thing about the law and it shows. You need help to control your narcissism.

      • athynz

        I see the “Troll” personality of David’s surfaced again. So what happened to your promise to be done with me? Like everything else you say it was a lie.

  • C

    Seriously? Are the racial remarks really necessary? How do you know he is a redneck or trailer trash, and even if he was who are YOU to judge him that way?? He was not drinking or under the influence of any drugs, it was an ACCIDENT, it was raining pretty bad throughout that day so the roads were more than likely wet, the next thing people will be saying is the person who hit him AFTER he was ejected should be charged with manslaughter or something. How about the fact that he did not have his seat belt on or the fact his CHILDREN did not have theirs on, he did not take the time secure them properly before taking off, I do not believe he should be charged at all it was a horrible accident, something he will have to live with the rest of his life, but the fact is nobody knows exactly what happened and it could have happened to any of us, and the bottom line is the man that was killed would be alive if he had been wearing his seat belt, its a miracle the children are OK, even though they were not wearing theirs either.

    • Kim

      You can’t be serious???? Oh, it rained through out the day….. well if that’s the case, he should have slowed his a$$ down!!!! You people are crazy as he××!!!

      • C

        You people?? How do you know he didn’t try to slow dow? You don’t it was an accident it is not like he intentionally said oh let me run into the back of this car just to see what will happen, he didn’t mean to. The mother is stating the the driver that hit him took her son, nobody took her sons, if he was wearing his seatbelt he wouldn’t have been ejected from the car. The judgement in this world needs to stop, it was an accident plain and simple.

      • athynz

        “You people”? Really, way to be a racist beyotch Kim. You wanna talk crazy let’s talk about that dude on bath salts that was eating a homeless guy’s face. Fact is that crazy, negligent, impatient, racist,etc. people are not limited to one’s race.

      • Troll

        athynz thinks he is an expert on crazy now, in addition to law and everything else he has an opinion on. The truth is he is the village idiot.

      • athynz

        David/Troll it is quite evident I know more about a great many things than you however you are the acknowledged expert on trolling, flinging insults like monkeys fling poo, and showing one’s ignorance.

  • manalishi

    ““I have to forgive him because my God says I have to forgive him,” a heart-broken Robinson said. “I hope his heart is as heavy as my heart.” in one breath “I had been relieved that there was an arrest and I was relieved for a while you know what I mean, but I think they should give him like 20 years,” Robinson, Sr. said.

    20 years? Because your boy wouldn’t wear a seatbelt? We will just have to give her a break given her loss.

  • Judy Smith

    While it is sad, and the van driver was negligent, so was the father, him and his 2 children were reported to not have been wearing seat belts which is the law. Would the out come have been as devastating had they law that is in place for our safety been followed? Both drivers made mistakes, and sometime mistakes can and do have a more serious outcome than we think. And no where have I read that the van driver was speeding or impaired. The negligent driving charge can be attributed to drive beyond the conditions of the road as it had been raining, that does not mean speeding. If you are driving 30-40 miles per hour in a 50 mph zone and have an accident you can still get negligent driving.

  • wiseman

    C & manalishj both of you need to take a leap off the highest building. Maybe that will knock some sense in you, both of you is a pityful soul

  • Belsma

    She is one strong woman! Sure, they should have been buckled in, but that is neither here or there now. I think the victim and the driver that hit him are both at fault, but sorry that daddy passed and the kids got hurt. A sad situation all around.

  • jk

    Does Mrs. Robinson forgive her son for not using a seat belt on himself or his children?! They wouldn’t have ended up in the road if her son had used common sense. Mr. Potter does not deserve 20 years for this accident. C & Manalishi, I agree with your comments.
    And I looked it up, where Mr. Potter lives is far from being a trailer park.

  • John

    There was a tragic outcome to this accident. Although, I feel that it was an accident. The driver of the van did not intentionally do anything to cause the collision (besides reckless driving). There was no drugs or alcohol involved. The news reported yesterday that this section of road has the most accidents in the area. It is a high traffic, hazard area! It could have easily been anyone in this type of circumstance, therefore to say the guy deserves 20 years in prison is totally nonsense. I realize the Father of the deceased is very emotional and he is letting out his frustrations. He and his wife are grieving, and they are strong to offer forgiveness. Whenever you talk to someone that is highly emotional and grieving, you are likely to get a out of realm response. I’m praying for them and they family.

  • KM

    No one should be arguing on this news feed right now. A father lost his life and his two children have to live without him forever. Not to forget the fact that his wife has lost her husband as well. No one should be blamed. We are all humans. Mistakes happen in life that’s why we learn from them and move on. The mother of Mr. Robinson is very strong for forgiving this man. Reguardless of if it was accidental or if he was negligent, the state has enough evidence to prove that he was negligent and that’s why this man is being charged with SOMETHING. Yes, Mr. Robinson should have buckled his children in (and himself) but arguing, name calling, pointing fingers is not going to easy this families pain nor bring him back. This family needs prayers, hell this world needs prayers. The only person that should be judging is God. Everyone else should just keep their thoughts to themselves! Praying for the whole Robinson family. RIP Floyd.

  • Noneofyourbusiness

    Okay, first of all a lot of you aren’t seeing the whole point… A man died, a child is on life support, and a man may not see jail time. Yes they should’ve been wearing seatbelts, but who’s to say they didn’t take them off while waiting to turn into the parking lot of their destination. Had they remained in seatbelts the accident could’ve been a lot worst. That vehicle was hit more than once. 4 vehicles were involved. It could’ve been all 3 dead. I think he should get more than a misdemeanor reckless driving or following behind too close. It should be felony charges. He needs to be charged with felony reckless driving, following behind to close, and failure to maintain control of vehicle under conditions. The driver that ran over top of his body should be charged with the misdemeanor. They should’ve been slowed all the way down and proceeding with caution. Who in the world sees a fatal accident ahead and continues to speed down the road. The speed limit in that area is 45mph under good conditions. If you don’t know, under rainy conditions or inclement weather your speed should be reduced by at least 10mph to be sure that you are safe. IJS!! Instead of the racial slurs focus on the fact that a wife is widowed and has two young children to raise on her own. One child is still on life support. Just put yourself in this family shoes before making ignorant comments. This family has suffered enough. Now good night.

    • h

      So, what if Mr. Robinson Jr. had survived and one of the children was killed? As the parent and the adult, it was his responsibility to make sure they were secure the entire time, just as it was Mr. Potter’s responsibility to reduce speed for the conditions. If Robinson had survived and one of his children had been killed, would you think HE should face felony charges and prison time?

  • Reality

    Appropriate charges. I challenge the naysayers to provide examples of a rear end collision under similar circumstances that produced felony charges. Mr. Potter can’t be held liable for an outcome resulting due to another’s negligence. Also, I won’t divulge unproven facts, but I think some may come out in court that play to Mr. Potter’s favor.

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