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Henry Whitehurst was charged after separate incidents, one involving a crash, earlier this month.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Longtime Christiansburg lawyer Henry Whitehurst was charged twice this month with driving under the influence in separate incidents that occurred within the span of three days.
Whitehurst, 68, also faces one count of refusing a blood or breath test.
At about 11 a.m. Aug. 12, police received a call about a two-vehicle wreck at the intersection of North Franklin Street and East Main Street, Christiansburg police spokeswoman Becky Wilburn said. Christiansburg police declined to identify the individuals involved in the wreck, but according to a criminal complaint in Whitehurst’s case file, the officer who responded to the scene saw Whitehurst slumped over in a driver’s seat.
Whitehurst “appeared in an almost unresponsive behavior, slumping over, but was able to grip my hand,” the officer wrote in a search warrant filed Aug. 14 in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Whitehurst pointed to his chest, so the officer called the rescue squad, which took Whitehurst to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, according to the criminal complaint.
As the vehicle was being towed away from the wreck site, the officer noticed a bottle of vodka inside. When the officer later interviewed Whitehurst in the emergency room, Whitehurst admitted to drinking, the complaint stated.
A witness of the wreck told police that Whitehurst was driving erratically before he crashed, according to the search warrant.
The search warrant was obtained for Whitehurst’s medical records and, according to the complaint, Whitehurst’s blood-alcohol content was 0.30 percent — more than three times the legal limit for driving.
On Aug. 13, the officer received a call from the owner of Affordable Automotive & Towing, according to another search warrant. The owner of the Christiansburg auto garage and towing service told the officer that he had found “a pill holder attached to a key chain with white powder inside of it” in Whitehurst’s car.
Police searched Whitehurst’s 2011 Nissan, and officers seized a metal, unlabeled pill container. The contents of the container are not listed in the search warrant.
According to court records, Whitehurst was charged with driving under the influence and released on a summons.
On Aug. 14, police received a call about an impaired driver, Wilburn said. The vehicle was stopped about 2:30 p.m. near Pepper Street and First Street. Wilburn said police are not releasing information related to the circumstances of the arrest because of future court proceedings.
Whitehurst was charged with driving under the influence, a second offense, and refusing a blood or breath test, according to court records.
He initially was held without bond following his second arrest. Buena Vista Commonwealth’s Attorney Christopher Russell was appointed special prosecutor.
According to the bail terms faxed from Russell’s office and included in Whitehurst’s case file, Whitehurst was given a $1,000 secured bond. The bail terms state that he must abstain from alcohol or drugs, must remain in Virginia and must enroll in pre-trial supervision with New River Valley Community Corrections.
Whitehurst bonded out of the Montgomery County Jail on Aug. 16, according to online jail records.
General District Court Judge Gino Williams has recused himself and all judges of the 27th judicial district from hearing the case because Whitehurst is “an attorney that regularly appears before all the judges” in that district, Williams wrote on a recusal sheet.
Whitehurst, who lives and works in Christiansburg, has practiced law in the area for about 40 years. Calls to his office were not returned Friday. Dave Rhodes, who is representing Whitehurst on these charges, could not be immediately reached.
Whitehurst’s next court date is Oct. 28, according to online records.
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