An Evington man who led Amherst County law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase after a reported home invasion call in Madison Heights last July was sentenced to a year and three months in jail Tuesday.
Joel Cory White, 33, in early May was found guilty during a bench trial in Amherst Circuit Court of eluding police, a felony. He was acquitted on related charges of burglary, robbery, abduction and use of a firearm in commission of a felony and was sentenced May 6 to six months incarceration on a misdemeanor count of fleeing from law enforcement.
White was arrested July 19, 2018 following a chase in Madison Heights that began after the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a man entering a residence on Secluded Acres Drive armed with a weapon and taking items from the home.
Amherst Sheriff E.W. Viar testified at a preliminary hearing in Amherst General District Court in December he personally pursued White along the U.S. 29 bypass as White erratically reversed direction across the highway’s median and later veered into oncoming traffic, reaching speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.
White exited the highway and fled on foot near Vintage Road, a secluded area of Madison Heights north of the James River, and disappeared into a wooded area for several hours before his arrest near the Triangle Market. Multiple sheriff’s vehicles were damaged in the pursuit but no officers were injured.
A woman who lived at the Secluded Acres Drive residence and was not home during the incident testified at trial crossbow, a baby monitor, a television, a computer, a toolkit and other small items were taken and she noticed the door appeared to have been kicked in.
Chuck Felmlee, White’s attorney, argued at trial no evidence linked White to the four felonies. Judge Michael Garrett said in ruling to dismiss those felonies in early May the commonwealth made a valiant effort but with a reluctant witness the case had many gaps and questions.
At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Carwile argued for White to serve three years incarceration. White’s sentencing includes three years and nine months of suspended jail time and and two years of supervised probation, according to court records. Garrett also credited White with time served since his arrest, Carwile said.
White, who has been in jail since his July 2018 arrest, apologized in court Tuesday for his actions and is glad to have the matter behind him, Felmlee said in an email after the hearing. Felmlee said White was coping with his wife’s death in June 2018 and he understands he needs to be there for his daughter upon his release.
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.