December 5, 2023

Commonwealth v. Joseph Samuel Grillo; Man Driving more than 5 Times Legal Limit Sentenced to Over 10 Years for DUI Crash

Virginia Beach, Va. – Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Joseph Samuel Grillo, age 43, of the 900 block of Marque Court in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced for charges of DUI Maiming – Permanent Injury, DUI – Maiming – Serious Injury, and DUI. Grillo pled guilty to these charges on July 31, 2023. Circuit Court Judge Steven C. Frucci sentenced Grillo to fifteen (15) years and twelve (12) months in prison with five (5) years suspended, leaving ten (10) years and twelve (12) months to serve. This sentence greatly exceeds the high end of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines which recommended a sentence no greater than two (2) years and one (1) month. Upon pronouncing his sentence, Judge Frucci said, “This is the type of behavior that should keep the citizens of Virginia Beach up at night.”

Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proven that on December 30, 2022, at around 7:30 p.m., Joseph Grillo drove his vehicle through the front doors of the Smith Discount Books store in Providence Square Shopping Center. Witnesses on scene observed Grillo’s vehicle hit the gas and go speeding down the road into the store. The vehicle crashed through shelves of books and a vending machine before coming to a stop. Two patrons, S.F. and M.C., were injured in the crash. S.F. was 25 weeks pregnant at the time and was sitting down when the crash occurred. She was pinned against a bookshelf and vending machine, and she suffered lacerations on her back and a hurt hip. She did eventually go on to deliver a healthy baby. M.C. was pinned between a table and bookshelf and suffered a fractured tibia. This injury required surgery, and a metal rod was placed in her leg, forcing her to be wheelchair bound for several months.

A Virginia Beach Police Officer spoke with Grillo after he was transported to the hospital. Grillo had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath, watery, glassy eyes, and slurred speech. He showed impairment on field sobriety tests. Grillo admitted he was headed to the ABC store. He told the officer, “I have a problem. I drink daily if I can get it.” He told the officer that he was on suboxone and started drinking “strong Bourbon, 40 proof” at 1:00 p.m. on the date of the crash. Grillo told the officer that he didn’t have a lot to drink because a lot to him is different than other people; a lot to him is a gallon of liquor per day. His blood alcohol content on the night of the crash was .402, which is five times the legal limit.

Grillo has prior convictions for Public Intoxication (2 counts) and Reckless Driving.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul J. Powers and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Morgan C. Milliken prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.

Contact Information

Keep Reading

See All Posts