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					                                               OFFICE OF THE COMMONWEAL TH'S ATTORNEY
                                                                 City of Suffolk
                                                           Godwin Courts Building
CO~t\lO:-"WEAlTH'S       ATTOR1I:EY                          150 North Main Street                   MAIN NUMBER (757) 514-4365
C. PHILLIPS FERGUSON
                                                                                                   VICTlM/WITNESS  (757) 514-4366
                                                         Suffolk, Virginia 23434-4552                          FAX (757) 514-4400
DEPUTY CO~\10NWEAl          TH'S ATTOR1I:EYS
WILL H. JAMERSON
JAMES E. WISER                                                Please visit our website:            CHIEF ADMIJ\1STRATIVE            MA~AGER
                                                             www.suffolk.va.us/cwattv/                           DONNA M. WHARAM
SDIIOR   ASSIST AJ\'TS
                                                                                                                   CHIEF IJ\VESTIGATOR
MATTHEW A. GLASSMAN
                                                                                                                           E. C. HARRIS
F. JEFFERSON JAMES
MARIL YN A SALLEE                                                                            COMMUNITY       OUTREACH     COORDI!'\ATOR
T. MARIE WALLS
                                                                                                                 KAREN H. WILLIAMS
SUSANH. WALTON
                                                                                                            VICTIMiWIT:-':ESS    DIRECTOR
ASSIST A:o-.'TS
                                                                                                                       DIANE BR YANT
SHA VAUGHN N. BANKS
NICOLE A. BELOTE                                                  May 6,2010                 ASSISTAJ\'T   VICTIMWIT:o-.'ESS    DIRECTORS
VAUGHN T. BREEDLOVE                                                                                               SONY A        L
                                                                                                                           ABBOTT
AMANDA E BURKS                                                                                                 ALLISON M. HOWARD
ROBERT H. SANDWICH. JR.




Officer Duffie W. McLamb
Suffolk Police Department
III Henley Place
Suffolk. VA 23434

             RE: Traffic Fatality in the 800 Block of West Constance Road on March 12, 2010

             Dear Officer McLamb:

        I have reviewed all of the evidence you have provided concerning the investigation of the traffic fatality that
occurred in the 800 block of West Constance Road on the evening of March 12, 2010. Ms. Betty Jean Artis
C'Artis")died after being struck by a vehicle operated by Mr. Ramashani Bakari ("Bakari"). After considering all of
this evidence, I have come to the conclusion that no charges are warranted.

         At the time of the accident, Bakari was headed east on West Constance Road. The only eyewitness, Mr.
James T. Scott ("Scott"), was driving his mini van westbound on West Constance. Scott said he noticed Artis was
entering the pedestrian crosswalk in a motorized wheelchair, attempting to cross the road from north to south. Scott
stopped his vehicle and started flashing his high beams to warn approaching drivers that Artis was crossing the
street. According to Scott, three (3) eastbound cars passed him without slowing prior to the impact. As Artis reached
the middle of the eastbound lane, Bakari struck her, throwing her to the side of the road in front of his vehicle and
wedging her wheelchair under his front bumper. Scott told us that he thought Bakari was speeding at the time. There
is no other evidence of excessive speed. The speed limit was 35 mph.

       Bakari told you that he was driving between 20 and 25 mph when he struck Artis. He was not aware that she
was crossing the road until he heard the impact.

         The weather conditions were atrocious on the night of the mishap. There was heavy rain and high winds at
the time. There were other eastbound cars in front of Bakari just before the crash. These conditions along with the
glare from the streetlights and the street, would have made it very difficult for Bakari to have seen Artis in the
crosswalk. Artis was operating a motorized wheelchair. The wheelchair was equipped with neither lights nor
reflective material.

        The westbound lanes had a warning of the pedestrian crosswalk several hundred feet east of the crosswalk,
and another warning sign within 10 feet of the crossing. The eastbound lanes only had one warning sign
approximately 10 feet west of the crosswalk. There were no blinking lights to warn of the possibility of pedestrians
crossing the road.
Officer Duffie W. McLamb
Suffolk Police Department
May 6, 2010-05-06
Page 2




        There was no evidence of any impainnent or violation of the licensing laws by Bakari. He was operating his
Chevroloet Tahoe under a restricted license issued after a DWI conviction. The vehicle had a properly operating
ignition interlock. The convicting court allowed Bakari to drive to and from child visitation. He had just picked up
his children from their mother's home on Military Road, and was taking them to his home in Portsmouth. Under
Virginia Code S 18.2-271.1 E (vii), a person who is given a restricted license after a OWl conviction may travel to
and from court ordered visitation with a child. Under the tenns of Bakari's divorce decree, he was allowed to
exercise visitation with his children.

        This case was a very unfortunate tragedy. Artis was crossing a dark road during very inclement weather
conditions. Her conveyance was neither lighted nor marked with reflective material. It would have been nearly
impossible for Bakari to have seen Artis in time to avoid the collision. There was no criminal negligence on the part
of Bakari, and this Office will not pursue criminal or traffic charges against him.

       Thanking you, I am




cc: Chief Thomas E. Bennett

				
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