Man jailed following multiple DUI cases
A man who struck two vehicles while driving in the wrong direction on a Fredericksburg street last year was convicted Wednesday of driving intoxicated for at least the fourth time.
Cung Nawl Val, 32, of Fredericksburg pleaded guilty to DUI, third offense, in Fredericksburg Circuit Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison with all but three months suspended.
According to the evidence presented by Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins, Val had prior DUI convictions in Georgia and Florida. But there was a dispute as to whether DUI laws in Georgia and Virginia are similar enough for the two Georgia offenses to qualify as prior convictions in Virginia.
Jenkins and defense attorney Mark Gardner essentially split the difference, leaving Val with a DUI third offense conviction, which is still a felony. The three-month sentence was the mandatory minimum required by law.
Val had recently moved from Florida to Fredericksburg to work as a sushi chef when the incident occurred on Sept. 17.
Jenkins said two Hanover Street residents were watching television in their home about 1:25 a.m. when they heard a loud crash.
A car traveling the wrong way on the one-way street had struck two vehicles. The residents saw a man get out of the Honda Civic he was driving and run away.
Police were called and found Val nearby a short time later. He told police that he’d had two beers, but blew a .15 on a preliminary blood-alcohol test.
Val tried to get Judge Gordon Willis to allow him to report to jail on Tuesday. He said he needed time to get some personal affairs in order and that he wanted to keep a scheduled phone interview Tuesday with a probation officer in Georgia.
But Willis, who said Val was fortunate he didn’t hurt himself or someone else, denied the request and sent Val straight to jail.
“You need to go to jail now, serve your time and never drink and drive again,” Willis said.
As part of a plea agreement, another charge against Val was dropped. He was also ordered to make restitution for the damaged vehicles.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404