An impaired driver who ran down and injured a roadside worker at a northwest Roanoke repair site will have to serve 2-1/2 years in prison.
That punishment was slightly below the high end of the sentencing guidelines of two years and 10 months, but was half of the five-year term that prosecutors had sought.
The sentence came Thursday for the driver, Wallace Arnold Scott Jr., 43, who last year pleaded no contest to felony DUI maiming and driving under the influence as a second offense.
Scott’s crash occurred about 10:30 a.m. April 24 at Westside Boulevard and Hershberger Road, near Westside Elementary School. At a previous hearing, prosecutors said Scott was driving erratically near a flagged Western Virginia Water Authority work site when his Chevrolet hit a worker on the side of the road.
The Chevrolet had to be lifted off the victim, who suffered two inoperable neck fractures and leg injuries that required surgery. Letters filed Thursday showed that the insurance companies that covered the victim are seeking $233,603 in civil restitution.
Appearing virtually from Western Virginia Regional Jail, Scott testified that he fell asleep at the wheel, and while he admitted having used Suboxone that morning, as part of his treatment for opioid addiction, he denied methamphetamine use. A blood analysis conducted four hours after the crash, however, indicated a level of meth well above the presumptive limit for impaired driving.
Roanoke Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Beamer called the denial “incredible” and argued that Scott now has four convictions for DUI, with a fifth case currently being appealed. He also has three years in suspended time in Roanoke County for larceny and possession of meth, and he was two months into probation for those offenses on the day of the crash. A revocation hearing that could bring additional prison time is set for next month.
One of Scott’s prior DUI convictions came in September 2013, after he drove an SUV into the front of a home at Greenland Avenue and Cumberland Street in northwest Roanoke. No one was injured.
During Scott’s testimony Thursday, he told defense attorney Allegra Black that a back injury he suffered in 1999 left him with a degenerative disc disorder that was treated with painkillers.
“I had to have them for my everyday movement,” Scott recalled, but he said his prescription ended a few years later. “One thing led to another and then I started using stronger narcotics.”
He apologized repeatedly to the victim.
“This isn’t the same as your other cases,” Judge Chris Clemens told Scott at the sentencing. “You almost killed somebody.”
Clemens also gave him 3-1/2 years in suspended time and five years of probation, and suspended his driver’s license indefinitely.