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Flight and crash lead to felony conviction

Jonah Junior
Meredith III

Fleeing a traffic checkpoint in Lunenburg County resulted in a man crashing his car in Nottoway County and being sentenced to one year and three and a half months in prison.

Jonah Junior Meredith III, age 49, of Nelson County, was convicted of Elude Police (Felony) and Driving While a Habitual Offender (second or subsequent offense, felony). Meredith pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with eight years, eight months and two weeks suspended, for an active sentence of one year, three months and two weeks.

According to a press release Assistant Commonwealth Attorney J. Baxter Stegall presented the evidence to Judge William Watson in Lunenburg Circuit Court.

The release went on to say, “The summary of evidence was as follows: On June 3, Deputy Peter Dayton of the Lunenburg Sheriff’s Office was part of a team conducting a traffic checkpoint on Fletcher Chapel Road at Route 40, near the Nottoway County line. A white BMW sport utility vehicle came into the checkpoint and the driver, Meredith, said he didn’t have his license with him. He also claimed that he could not remember his Social Security number. The driver gave what later was found to be a false name and date of birth to the deputy.”

Deputy Dayton asked him (Meredith) to pull to the side of the road for further questioning. Meredith agreed, telling the deputy that he wasn’t going to run, but before Deputy Dayton could reach him, Meredith spun tires and slung gravel as he drove rapidly away from the shoulder of the road, heading toward Nottoway, crossing the river and crashing near Murdock’s Curve.

The vehicle rolled over and landed back on its wheels. Dayton called for fire (fighters) and EMS to respond, and ran to check on the occupants. He found the driver and one passenger uninjured. The driver told him that he ran because he didn’t have a valid driver’s license. After helping them out of the car, Dayton handcuffed the driver. Dayton then discovered the driver’s real identity as Jonah Junior Meredith III, and found him to be wanted on charges of six active warrants from Nelson County. He also found Meredith’s driver’s license to be revoked, and that Meredith was a habitual offender.

A trooper from the Virginia State Police worked the traffic crash and served the outstanding warrants. Charges for the crash were referred to Nottoway for prosecution.

Meredith was convicted of driving while a habitual offender (second or subsequent offense, felony) and received five years incarceration, with three years, eight months and two weeks suspended. He was convicted of eluding police (felony), and received five years with five years suspended. The suspended portion of Meredith’s sentence was suspended on the conditions of good behavior for 10 years, supervised probation for one year, search and seizure waiver for five years, change of address notification for five years, no proximity to firearms, no operation of a motor vehicle, and that he may not request home electronic monitoring.