Friday, July 19, 2024

Charges Reduced for Colonial Williamsburg CEO in October Incident


WILLIAMSBURG — Charges against Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President and CEO Cliff Fleet were reduced Thursday from reckless driving to improper driving for an October incident in which a 21-year-old William & Mary student walking on Richmond Road was struck and hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

According to the Code of Virginia, “Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article, upon the trial of any person charged with reckless driving where the degree of culpability is slight, the court in its discretion may find the accused not guilty of reckless driving but guilty of improper driving. However, an attorney for the Commonwealth may reduce a charge of reckless driving to improper driving at any time prior to the court’s decision and shall notify the court of such change. Improper driving shall be punishable as a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $500.”

Fleet was fined $500, the maximum amount for improper driving. Reckless driving, a class 1 misdemeanor, carried possible jail time of up to 12 months and up to $2,500 in fines.

A preliminary investigation in October by the Virginia State Police (VSP), asked to assist at the request of the city, revealed that Fleet was operating a 2023 Audi SUV eastbound on Richmond Road when he struck the student in the crosswalk at the intersection of Richmond Road and Armistead Avenue. Fleet was not injured in the crash and remained on the scene, according to VSP.

The pedestrian, 21-year-old Rosemary T. Raynal of Raleigh, North Carolina, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

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