Former VUU, NBA star Ben Wallace guilty of leaving Henrico crash

Published: Mar. 19, 2014 at 2:41 AM EDT
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Ben Wallace (Source: Henrico County Sheriffs Office)
Ben Wallace (Source: Henrico County Sheriffs Office)

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Former Virginia Union University and NBA star Ben Wallace pleaded no contest in court Tuesday to leaving the scene of an accident in Henrico last month.

Wallace's Cadillac Escalade smashed through a fence and hit a tree early February 8 near Gaskins Road at Peppertree Drive. When officers arrived, the vehicle was empty. An investigation led detectives to Wallace who was charged Tuesday and entered his guilty plea.

Wallace was sentenced to a year in prison, with all but two days suspended, according to online court records. He was also ordered to pay $611 in court fines and costs.

He was booked into the Henrico West jail Tuesday afternoon according to online records and is expected to be released Wednesday.

"That is not an unusual sentence," said NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin. "It was not an attended vehicle, no one was injured and I'm guessing the property damage was less than $1,000. That constitutes as the misdemeanor form of hit and run and depending on what his record is, this is not an unusual sentence."

What is unusual, says Benjamin, is that Wallace was charged and sentenced on the same day.

"That suggests that an arrangement had already been negotiated with the authorities and the defense," said Benjamin.

To do that, does a defendant need a good lawyer or fame?

"One thing people should understand about Richmond, Henrico and the surrounding areas is that celebrities don't get any leniency in our courts," said Benjamin. "If anything, it's the opposite."

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