May 24, 2021

Commonwealth v. Richard Lee Buckhout, Jr.; Man Driving Under Influence of Alcohol, Valium to Serve Almost 4 Years for Maiming Pedestrian

Virginia Beach, Va. – Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Richard Lee Buckhout, Jr., age 30, formerly of the 200 block of Holland Drive in Virginia Beach, VA, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge A. Bonwill Shockley for charges of DUI- Victim Permanently Impaired, DUI, and Possession of Schedule IV Controlled Substance. Judge Shockley sentenced Buckhout to six (6) years and eighteen (18) months in prison with two (2) years and eight (8) months suspended, leaving three (3) years and ten (10) months to serve.

Buckhout pled guilty to the charges on December 4, 2019. Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that on December 1, 2018 just before 2 p.m., Richard Lee Buckhout Jr. was driving a Pontiac Grand Am on Edinburgh Drive in Virginia Beach when he struck a 73-year-old pedestrian. In the five minutes leading up to the crash, a citizen witness observed Buckhout driving erratically, on the wrong side of the road, and stopping in the middle of an intersection. That witness lost sight of Buckhout for a brief period and regained sight of Buckhout as he struck the victim and her vehicle, beside which she stood. Another citizen also witnessed Buckhout speeding down the street and striking the victim.

Police officers arrived on scene and immediately noticed the victim's legs were fractured and saw blood on her face and head. Buckhout and his passenger stood on the grass next to the road. Buckhout could not hold himself up and kept closing his eyes as if he were about to fall asleep. Buckhout asked if the woman was okay and stated, "I didn't think I would hit her." He then laid back into the grass and fell asleep, snoring.

Officers from the Fatal Crash Team responded to the scene. They observed Buckhout's slurred speech, blank and drowsy affect, strong odor of alcohol, and swaying while standing. Buckhout admitted he drank beer that morning and took Valium. Seven Valium pills were recovered during a search by police. A blood draw at the hospital revealed his BAC was .10 and indicated Valium in his system. Despite blood being drawn four hours after the crash, the amount of Valium in Buckhout's blood was so excessive that it was outside the therapeutic range of the medication.

The victim sustained significant life-threatening injuries. She remained at the hospital for two weeks, followed by rehabilitative care. She had surgery on both legs and her left arm and has permanent metal rods in both legs and her left arm. She sustained several other injuries and will suffer the effects of the crash for the rest of her life.

Buckhout has prior convictions in Virginia for Possession of a Concealed Weapon and Purchase Alcohol for Someone Under age 21. He also has prior convictions in Michigan for Home Invasion (2nd degree – felony), Drunk in Public, Possession of Marijuana, and Purchasing Alcohol for a Minor.

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Wendy Alexander and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Justin M. Brewster prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.

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