WINCHESTER — Driver Kelsey Marie Cadwell avoided imprisonment for killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk in 2016, but she will be jailed up to four months for leaving the scene of an accident while on probation for the death.
On Friday in Winchester Circuit Court, Caldwell had four months of her two-year suspended sentence revoked and must report to jail on July 22. The revocation was due to Cadwell fleeing after crashing into the side of the Blue Fox Billiards, Bar, Grill at 1061 Millwood Pike in Frederick County on Aug. 17.
The crash came about 10 months after Cadwell pleaded no contest in October 2017 in a plea bargain before Judge Alexander R. Iden for the Nov. 17, 2016, death of Virginia Dare Thompson. A month earlier, Judge Clifford L. “Clay” Athey Jr. rejected the plea deal and recused himself from the case. Court documents on Friday didn’t say why he rejected the deal.
Cadwell received a two-year suspended sentence that included a year of supervised probation followed by a year of unsupervised probation for killing Thompson. The punishment included 100 hours of community service, but Cadwell didn’t lose her license.
The crash occurred at about 2:45 p.m. while the 83-year-old Thompson was in the crosswalk on her way to catch a bus. Cadwell, initially charged with involuntary manslaughter, had a phone in her hand when she struck Thompson. Phone records showed she texted just before the collision, but prosecutors couldn’t prove she was texting as the crash occurred. It is illegal in Virginia to send or read text messages while driving unless it involves an emergency.
Cadwell was driving with a suspended license when she killed Thompson. Cadwell’s license was suspended because she didn’t pay a 2015 speeding ticket fine within 30 days and hadn’t paid a license reinstatement fee.
The Blue Fox crash caused $80,000 in damage, according to a criminal complaint written by Deputy Austin O. Stump of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. Cadwell was tracked down due to a license plate found outside the club that was knocked from the 2008 Honda Pilot SUV she was driving when she crashed.
Stump said Cadwell told him she fled the scene because she was afraid to contact police. On June 4 in Frederick General District Court, Cadwell, of the 12000 block of Old Valley Pike in Edinburg, pleaded no contest to reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident, both misdemeanors. She received a two-year suspended sentence.
Given that the revocation involved a death, retired Judge Dennis L. Hupp, who was serving as a substitute judge, said he he was reluctant to accept the agreement because it only involved four months imprisonment. However, Derek Aston, senior assistant commonwealth attorney, said Cadwell will be on probation for another year after she is released from jail. Her probation would have expired in October for killing Thompson.
Asked in an interview after the sentencing why he hadn’t sought to have Cadwell serve the full two years of her suspended sentence, Aston said he wanted to balance punishment with the increased monitoring that was part of the extended probation.
“When she gets out, she’ll have a year and eight months [suspended sentence] and if she screws up again there an opportunity for her to serve that remaining balance of the sentence,” he said. “The need was to make sure we kept a watch over her. You could give her the entire sentence, but then you have nobody watching to make sure she doesn’t get in trouble again.”
Attorney David L. Hensley — who also represented Cadwell over Thompson’s death — said the punishment for the 26-year-old mother of two was fair for a first-time probation violation. “Yes, they could’ve revoked the two years, but I maintain four months is an adequate punishment,” he said.