CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — The driver blamed for a wrong-way crash on the Powhite Parkway over the weekend didn’t have a valid license.
Virginia State Police say they busted Thomas Meece for driving on a suspended license for the 11th time. But 8News has learned that number may be even higher.
According to court records, police in Amelia County ticketed Meece for his twelfth offense of driving on a suspended license just three weeks ago. The 29-year-old has a lengthy record of traffic tickets as well as a criminal history.
Sunday’s crash in Chesterfield could have killed someone.
Police say Meece was driving the wrong way in the northbound lanes near Midlothian Turnpike when he hit three cars. The impact sent three people, including Meece, to the hospital.
Everyone who was hurt is expected to be okay.
Attorney Russ Stone with Bowen, Ten, Cardani PC, says if Meece is convicted for driving without a valid license, he could spend up to a year in jail.
Stone adds it’s not unusual for people with suspended licenses to drive anyway.
“I go to court regularly and I will see people with 4,5,6,7 (offenses) … 11 is high,” he says, “That’s definitely getting up there, but it’s not that unusual to see people with multiple offenses.”
Driving on a suspended license is a class one misdemeanor, so a lot of violators get by with just paying a fine. Putting them in jail isn’t practical.
“It’s the same analysis as possession of marijuana,” explains Stone, “You know if you locked up everyone that was involved it, we wouldn’t have room for the people who really need to be locked up.”
Meece was not arrested, just ticketed. There is nothing to stop him from driving again.