Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright’s felony eluding charge dismissed

Posted at 6:58 AM, Mar 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-21 19:30:29-04

Portsmouth, Va.- Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright faced a judge Monday morning on a felony eluding charge, following a heated confrontation with Sheriff Bill Watson.

A judged dismissed the eluding charge and sticker charge.

The special prosecutor, Verbena Askew hired to deal with the case said she moved to dismiss the charge because Wright was driving slowly and the Sheriff should not have been chasing him in the first place. She says the Sheriff should not have chased the mayor because having an expired inspection sticker is not a jailable offense.

Of course, the Sheriff strongly disagrees.

Back in January the mayor was pulled over. Sheriff Bill Watson says he noticed the mayor had an expired inspection sticker. When he tried to pull the mayor over, he said Wright refused to stop. The Sheriff followed the mayor through Old Towne Portsmouth with his lights on.

When the mayor pulled over, he was issued a ticket. The next day, Sheriff Watson decided that wasn't enough and had Wright booked on a felony eluding charge.

Wright's lawyer Michael Massie said, "Obviously, there were a lot of other issues going on with the parties and it's good that the criminal justice system worked out as it supposed to."

Massie is happy with the judges outcome; however, Sheriff Bill Watson is not.

"I don't take cases personally.  It just shows that he's above the law and the city of Portsmouth and I didn't even get a chance to testify and our so called special prosecutor was just testifying for the defense . They're all drinking out of the same cup."

The special prosecutor in this case denies the accusation and said she doesn't know Mayor Wright.

"It is not an offense for which you can go to jail, so pursuant to the Sheriff's policy he should not of been pursuing him,"said Askew.

"It's Portsmouth politics, it is what it is," said Watson.

The one thing that everyone can agree on is that this is an unusual case that put the city of Portsmouth in the limelight, getting attention for reasons that many didn't want.


Fines, future of Portsmouth city auditor voted on Tuesday night

Ousted city manager to run for Mayor of Portsmouth

Petition to recall Portsmouth mayor gains more signatures

Race discussed throughout Portsmouth city council meeting

Portsmouth residents unhappy following arrest of Mayor, fine of Councilman

Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright to seek re-election