Accomack Circuit Court Indictments

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By Nancy Drury Duncan

Christopher Northcraft, 35, of Brooklyn Park, Md., pleaded guilty to misdemeanor eluding, reckless driving, and driving without a license in a plea agreement with the commonwealth. All these charges stemmed from a high-speed chase through Accomack County Oct. 19, 2021. The chase began in Maryland and ended on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel with a crash that left both Northcraft and passenger Brandy Bowman, 35, with major but not life-threatening injuries. According to a report by the Virginia State Police, Northcraft exited the crashed Toyota Camry and tried to get Bowman out before fleeing the scene. He went over a guardrail and fell to the ground approximately 30 feet below.

The chase, which reached speeds of 120 mph, began in Maryland where Northcraft and Bowman had warrants on file for their arrest. The chase continued to the bridge-tunnel. As the vehicle approached the North Channel high rise, the car struck a curb, spun out of control, flipped, and landed on its roof. Northcraft was combative with rescue personnel while being flown to Norfolk General Hospital. On Oct. 22, 2021, the morning he was to be discharged, he barricaded himself in his hospital room and unsuccessfully attempted to open or break a window to escape. He faces multiple felony charges in Northampton County, including attempted murder, abduction, eluding drug charges, and more. Judge W. Revell Lewis III sentenced him to 12 months for eluding, 12 months for reckless driving, and six months for driving without a license. He fined him $500 on each of those charges.

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A secured bond of $50,000 was set for Domnique Rashad Wescott, 27, of Painter. He is charged with malicious shooting, shooting at an occupied building, and use of a firearm. He was involved in what Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan described as “a shootout involving multiple people.” He said bullet casings from different types of firearms were found at the trailer park in the northern part of the county where the April gunfight occurred. Quanta Mapp was shot and identified Wescott as the man who shot him. “He is a threat to the community,” Morgan said. Wescott was arrested when his car ran out of gas on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. He was carrying a firearm when he was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon in Northampton County. “He ran out of gas on the CBBT and was walking for gas when arrested,” said defense attorney Andre Wiggins. “The weapon was not concealed in his vehicle.” He said his client had the gun with him because he didn’t want to leave it in the car. “We have only the testimony of the victim,” said Judge W. Revell Lewis III. He set bond at $50,000, ordered Wescott to be supervised by pre-trial services if released and to wear a GPS monitoring device.

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Vashod Rykish Reid, 32, of Parksley, charged with felony eluding, was released on a $4,000 bond March 30. He was arrested after a high-speed police chase resulting from an attempt to pull him over for a missing license plate on the front of his vehicle. He fled, reaching a speed of 100 mph on U.S. Route 13 near Parksley at 7:00 in the evening. A condition of his bond was that he be supervised by pre-trial services. He repeatedly missed appointments there as well as those with the community services board. He told the court he could not drive and relied on friends and family members to take him there. He said he worked two jobs and had little time to attend the meetings. He was taken into custody again and his bond revoked. “I don’t understand,” said Judge Lewis. “You have two jobs and six kids. You were operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and no front tag. You were released on bond. Driving over 100 mph is a danger.” He told Reid he would restore his bond but expected him to comply with the conditions. “You need to understand this is a serious matter. Any more of this, and you will be back.”

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Preston Vanness Townsend, 42, of Horntown, has been released on bond since March 30 following arrest on charges of possession of cocaine and eluding. His bond was revoked earlier this month because he has repeatedly tested positive for illegal drugs. He was tested and found positive for drug use when he appeared for his preliminary hearing. Defense attorney Carl Bundick appealed the decision and asked that Townsend’s bond be reinstated. On the witness stand, Townsend said he had four children, ages 1, 2, 3, and 8, for whom he provided daily child care. He said also he was on disability because of mental issues. The mother of the children testified she would lose her job and her house if Townsend could not care for the children. Jolynn Perry, of Community Corrections, testified that Townsend attempted to cheat with a urine screen by filling the container with tap water. She described a thermometer on the vial that tells when the liquid inside is not body temperature. “There are allegations of domestic assault and battery,” said Judge Lewis. “You were granted bond under certain terms and conditions. You attempted to conceal the use of cocaine [and] mental health appointments were missed. There is no doubt you will continue using cocaine while taking care of the kids. It is a severe hardship, but I would think she would not want someone taking care of her kids who is high on cocaine.” Townsend’s bond was not reinstated.

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Cesar Tecum-Ajanel, 28, of Melfa, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, driving without a license, misdemeanor hit-and-run, and DUI. He requested admission into the first offender program. He was leaving the parking lot of Stuckey’s on U.S. Route 13 in January when he struck the rear passenger side of a Ford F-150. He turned southbound and ran off the road and went into a ditch a mile south of the accident, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Morgan. He said the police officer said the defendant smelled of alcohol and performed poorly on a field sobriety test. He was arrested. A search found a small plastic bag of cocaine in his wallet. “He is performing well at pre-trial services,” Morgan told the court. Judge Lewis told Tecum-Ajanel he must follow all the requirements of the program. He will continue to be supervised by Community Services. If Tecum-Ajanel is successful, the felony charge will be dismissed. For the misdemeanor hit-and-run, Judge Lewis sentenced him to six months, with all but time served suspended. For driving without a license, he fined him $100. He sentenced him to 60 days for the DUI with all but time served suspended and fined him $1,000. He told Tecum-Ajanel that $500 of that fine will be suspended if he successfully completes the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program. He is to be of good behavior for two years. He is set to return to court on May 18, 2023.

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A plea agreement was reached between the commonwealth and Michael John Szymanski, 53, of Horntown. He agreed to plead guilty to two counts of assault and battery and one count of assault and battery of a police officer. In exchange, a charge of resisting arrest was not prosecuted. Police were called to Trails End for a report of domestic assault. When the deputy arrived he found the defendant had assaulted two women, a member of his household and her friend. When the deputy attempted to arrest him, Szymanski struck him in the back four or five times, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney William Fox. Defense attorney Isabel Kaldenbach said Szymanski was both caretaker and boyfriend of the woman with whom he lives. The woman, who has multiple sclerosis, obtained a protective order against him which is in effect until February 2023. “She cares for him and wants him to get help,” said Kaldenbach. “He has a serious alcohol problem. He was extremely inebriated that night,” she told the court.

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Hannah Boyd, 25, of Accomac, entered into a plea agreement with the commonwealth. A larceny charge was dismissed in exchange for her plea of guilty to credit card fraud and to embezzlement. While employed at H.W. Drummond, Boyd used the credit card number of a customer to shop online. “She was abandoned by the father of her child and was struggling,” said defense attorney Kelly Vasta. Judge Lewis sentenced Boyd to 90 days on each of the two charges, to run concurrently, and suspended all but 10 days on each, for a total of 10 days He told her she could serve the time on weekends.

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Benito Thomas Flores, 36, of Exmore, will spend one year and six months of active jail time. He pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of cocaine, and larceny of property with a value of less than $1,000. In May 2021, police responded to a call from an Onancock woman who said she loaned her truck to Flores and he failed to return it, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Fox. He said Flores made numerous excuses when the woman contacted him. He was arrested after police spotted the truck in the T’s Corner area. Judge Lewis sentenced Flores to five years with four years suspended for unauthorized use, two years with all but three months suspended for possession of cocaine, and 12 months with all but three months suspended for petty larceny, a total of 30 months. This jail time is to run concurrently with a sentence for crimes committed in Northampton County.

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