The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Judge advances felony charge in fatal Stafford crash
BY KEITH EPPS
Stafford County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Flick was wrapping up a routine traffic stop early May 7 when an incident began that was anything but ordinary.
Flick testified in Stafford General District Court Friday that he was off the road on U.S. 1 north near Telegraph Road in northern Stafford shortly after midnight when a truck came barreling toward him.
Flick said he pulled himself up onto his light bar as the truck came within about a foot of him.
By the time Flick got into his car to pursue the erratic driver, the truck had swerved several more times.
Flick’s pursuit didn’t last long. A quarter-mile later, the truck had crossed the double yellow lines and entered the southbound lanes of U.S. 1, crashing into a southbound Infinity driven by 38-year-old Nadeem Rhaman of Stafford.
Rhaman died at the scene. The crash was captured on the camera in Flick’s police cruiser.
The truck’s driver, 23-year-old Joshua Fitzpatrick of King George, was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which carries a potential 20-year prison sentence.
Judge Thomas L. Murphey sent the charge to a Stafford grand jury following Friday’s preliminary hearing. Fitzpatrick is being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.
Evidence presented Friday by Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen indicated that Fitzpatrick had multiple prescription drugs in his system at the time of the crash, including Xanax, methadone and oxycodone.
Trooper N.W. Koslicki testified that Fitzpatrick was incoherent and slurring his words when he tried to talk to him following the accident.
The trooper said Fitzpatrick told him he never saw Flick’s emergency lights and was on his way from King George to Richmond at the time. That trip would not have taken him to North Stafford.
Fitzpatrick, who was with his fiancé at the time, suffered an arm injury and a concussion in the crash. The woman was not seriously hurt.
Defense attorneys Eugene Frost and Carey Bowen argued that the evidence does not support the aggravated involuntary manslaughter charge.
They pointed out that the prescription bottles found in his vehicle had Fitzpatrick’s name on them and said his problems communicating with the trooper could be attributed to the concussion.
At a previous hearing, Olsen presented evidence that four different doctors had prescribed Fitzpatrick 909 oxycodone pills over a recent 36-day period.