Police: Girlfriend facing murder charge failed to disclose passenger in her car

Posted at 6:21 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 18:31:29-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A woman who failed to disclose she had a passenger with her after crashing on Interstate 95 in Petersburg led an officer on a brief chase, according to testimony.

The two-day murder trial for Chiquita Pettaway began in Petersburg Circuit Court, Tuesday morning.

Pettaway was charged with the murder of her boyfriend, 30-year-old Michael Jones, after the June 2016 crash at the Crater Road off-ramp on Interstate 95. She also faced DWI, eluding police, involuntary manslaughter, and the battery of an emergency or healthcare person.

Petersburg Police Officer Jay Stamper testified he recorded a Suburban speeding outside of a Valero gas station at 47 miles per hour on East Washington Street. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour.

He described seeing the silhouette of only one person inside the vehicle during the early morning hours.

Chiquita Pettaway

Stamper then pursued the driver, now identified as Pettaway, onto Interstate 95. He said he watched the SUV lose control and flip multiple times after reaching speeds of about 70 miles per hour.

"She was actually ejected from the vehicle, but did not sustain life-threatening injuries," Capt. Brian Braswell told CBS 6 after the crash.

Stamper testified he only saw one person thrown from the vehicle during the crash.

While on scene at the accident, police said Pettaway was asked several times if anyone else was in the SUV.

"It was asked at least three times by both police and fire if there were any other occupants in the vehicle and she stated 'no,'" Brasswell said.

Stamper said Pettaway was combative and yelled expletives before she was loaded onto an ambulance. He testified himself and other first responders searched the crash site and did not locate anyone else injured.

There was no dash cam recording the crash in the police cruiser, nor a body camera worn by the responding officer, according to Stamper.

Family members reported Jones missing the next evening, and police again asked Pettaway if she had been alone and she said yes.

Police re-canvassed the area near the accident site and found Jones' body in bushes about 30 to 40 yards away.

Jones' mother testified she witnessed both her son and the defendant drinking prior to the crash. Officers said they found alcohol at the crash sight.

"He was a friendly, outgoing person," Sonya Brown said of her deceased nephew. "He was very loved by everyone."

The jury trial is scheduled to conclude Wednesday.



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