GRTC driver faces judge for arraignment

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The GRTC driver who hit and killed a state worker last week had her day in court this morning.

Teresa Jones's trial is expected to begin next month. Today's court appearance comes a day after some confusion the prosecution took full responsibility for.

Since it was not her fault, the first order of business this morning was to dismiss a charge against Teresa Jones for failing to show up yesterday. The attorney's however did not get off that easy.

The judge made it clear that he would not have allowed them to change the date of the arraignment because of the high profile nature of this case.

A typical arraignment for Jones in which the judge simply verified her reckless driving charge and set a trial date. A quiet no comment from Jones, but her attorney had a lot more to say on her behalf.

"This was a horrible, horrible accident -- her life will never be the same again," said Vinceretta Taylor Chiles. "She will carry forever with her what happened to Mrs. Lambert and how Mrs. Lambert's family and her loved ones will be forever affected by this."

Last week's deadly accident in which pedestrian Lucienda Lambert was alledgedly hit and killed by the GRTC bus Jones was driving wasn't the only time Jones was cited for reckless driving. She was ticketed in May for going 55 in a 35 mile per hour zone. She paid a fine and went to traffic school and the charge was dropped.

"It was a speeding charge and because it was 20 miles over it was reckless driving and that's how it was written up, but it wasn't a general reckless driving in that she handled her vehicle inappropriately or she failed to do something or she didn't look out," Chiles said.

Jones never told GRTC management about the incident, which is against company policy. Now we've learned that charge should have never been dismissed.

A recent change to Virginia law says that CDL drivers can no longer attend traffic school to get out of a ticket.

In fact, going more than 15 miles over the limit can lead to the suspension of your CDL license. No word on if or how that might affect this case.

Lucienda Lambert's family was also in the courtroom today, but we did not get a chance to speak with them. The prosecution was not available for an interview either because of another court responsibility.

Jones will be back in court November 24 at 9:30 am. Her attorney says they'll be ready that day to go to trial.

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