Chesterfield educator guilty of DUI, hit & run - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Chesterfield educator guilty of DUI, hit & run

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A former Chesterfield school administrator gets jail time and loses his job for a pair of crimes that happened late last year. Paul Vandemortel was found guilty today of DUI and hit and run.

According to Chesterfield County public school records, the Matoaca High School Dean was let go February 22.  Paul Vandemortel's attorney says it's because of media coverage stemming from crimes that happened on West Grace Street back in December. 

One Saturday night late last year a car plowed into a group of vehicles, and then took off. This wrecked SUV belonged to Janet Bachelder who described the crime to us in December. 

"He floored the gas and it hit my car right into the car in front of mine," she said. 

This morning, she shared the same story with a Richmond judge who determined Paul Vandemortel at fault. Another neighbor testified that he watched Vandemortel's car drive away as it scrapped the pavement on West Grace. 

Two Richmond police officers testified. They found a dented sports car belonging to the former Matoaca High School Dean outside his home on Monument Avenue. 

For 10 minutes police knocked on his door. Once Vandemortel let police in, police say they gave him three sobriety tests and police say he didn't pass any of them. 

At first, police say Vandemortel denied the crash, but later confessed. He admitted to drinking four to five rum and cokes at a bar on East Grace before getting behind the wheel. The 44-year-old man, with one prior DUI, was cuffed then released on bond. 

In December, a Chesterfield school spokesman said misdemeanor charges don't warrant job termination. But the 10-year employee was let go last month...though we don't know why. Vandemortel's attorney says it's because of the negative media attention. 

Paul Vandemortel will be back in Richmond court in May for his appeal. Paul Vandemortel was sentenced to pay nearly $1,000 in fines and spend 45 days in jail. 

A judge suspended his driver's license for three years. That sentence is on hold pending the outcome of his appeal. 

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