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Blevins v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia

August 26, 2014

STEVEN JOSEPH BLEVINS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF STAFFORD COUNTY. Charles S. Sharp, Judge.

Affirmed.

Edith M. Min (Eugene Frost; Mell & Frost, PC, on brief), for appellant.

Christopher P. Schandevel, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

Present: Judges Humphreys, Alston and Decker.

OPINION

Page 397

[63 Va.App. 631] MARLA GRAFF DECKER.

Steven Joseph Blevins appeals his conviction of reckless driving in violation of Code § 46.2-852. The appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. He also contends that the trial court erred by not instructing the jury on improper driving as a lesser-included offense of reckless driving. We hold that the evidence was sufficient to prove the elements of reckless driving and the trial court properly refused the appellant's proposed jury instruction on improper driving. Accordingly, we affirm the conviction.

I. BACKGROUND

This case arises from a traffic accident that occurred on Interstate 95 in Stafford County. The appellant was driving his pickup truck and hit a car driven by Dale Robertson. A passenger in that car died as a result of the wreck.

The following evidence was presented at the appellant's trial for reckless driving. Robertson testified that as he drove past the appellant's truck, he heard the truck engine " rev . . . like [the appellant] was attempting to pass the traffic." The appellant's truck crossed into Robertson's lane. The front passenger side bumper of the truck struck Robertson's rear [63 Va.App. 632] driver's side bumper. As a result, Robertson's car spun off the road, flipped, and hit a tree. The passenger in Robertson's car died, and Robertson suffered numerous injuries.

Robertson testified that the accident occurred on a rainy night with light to moderate traffic on the interstate. Additionally, according to Robertson, the appellant traveled near his vehicle for approximately forty-five minutes before the accident occurred. The appellant was driving his truck in the

Page 398

left lane of traffic. Robertson was driving his car in the center lane, initially behind the appellant. They drove in those respective lanes for approximately twenty minutes before the accident. Robertson was driving about seventy miles per hour. He testified that he and the appellant were driving appropriately for the conditions that night. He also stated that the appellant was not driving erratically.

Virginia State Trooper M.A. Oliver testified that he investigated the accident. He stated that the posted speed limit was sixty-five miles per hour. The appellant admitted to the trooper that he was driving between seventy-five and eighty miles per hour. He also told Oliver that he felt his truck shake and " pull in toward the left lane." Further, the appellant said that " his back end [of the truck] started to slip." He explained to the trooper that he had recently gotten his truck back after " get[ting] some work done on it." The appellant ...


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