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Carjacking brings 8 years in prison

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A Spotsylvania County man was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday for a 2012 carjacking and abduction in Caroline County.

Trent Allen Brooks, 22, was found guilty in June of abduction, carjacking, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and hit and run in Caroline Circuit Court.

Judge J. Howe Brown handed Brooks a 24-year sentence with all but eight years suspended.

Defense attorney Harvey Latney argued for a lighter sentenced, saying that Brooks, who had no prior felony convictions, was not the driver in the hit-and-run crash.

“If Mr. Brooks had just stayed, we would not be having this conversation because he did nothing to cause the accident,” Latney said. “The driver is not in the same position.”

The case stems from a Sept. 22, 2012, incident in Woodford in which a 2006 Pontiac G6 ran through a stop sign and hit a 1998 Dodge Durango around 6:30 p.m. The Pontiac was traveling east on Marye Road and the Dodge was traveling north on U.S. 1.

According to state police, the three people in the Pontiac were unhurt, but three of the five in the Dodge were taken to Mary Washington Hospital with serious injuries.

As Trooper M.C. Hite was assisting the injured, he saw the driver of the Pontiac, Cheryl Ruedi of Spotsylvania, and Brooks, who was a back-seat passenger, leave the scene on foot.

Less than an hour later, a man told troopers he was forced at gunpoint to drive a man and a woman away from the scene.

Joel Byrd testified during the trial that Brooks walked up to him holding his nose as if he had been injured in the crash and asked for a tissue. As Byrd turned toward his vehicle, he said a blunt object was thrust in his back and Brooks told him to get him out of the area because he was wanted.

Byrd said Brooks told him to pick up Ruedi before the two later fled on foot into the woods, away from the crash scene.

Both were taken into custody a few days later.

Brooks testified at trial that he offered Byrd $20 to give him a ride so he would stay out of trouble and that he didn’t have a gun.

He told the judge that he ran from the scene because he had a warrant out for his arrest in Spotsylvania, and he didn’t want his girlfriend to find out he had been riding with Ruedi.

After all testimony was heard, it came down to the word of Byrd versus the word of Brooks.

“I do believe Mr. Byrd. I do not believe the defendant,” the judge said. “His story has gotten better, but not more truthful.”

Ruedi, who also testified in court, was convicted earlier of reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, possession of marijuana and not reporting an accident. She served a month in jail.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419

psmith@fredericksburg.com

 

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