Campbell County Judge laments lack of civility on area roads
By CHRIS DUMOND
Published: October 15, 2009
RUSTBURG — A dispute between a bicyclist and a driver that started on a back road in Campbell County ended in circuit court Thursday with a plea agreement.
Douglas Sherwood, of Forest, was convicted of assault and improper driving during a district court trial in July. According to testimony at the hearing, Sherwood followed behind bicyclist Suzanne Rodemann along Town Fork Road honking his horn.
After he pulled around her, Rodemann showed him her middle finger, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacy Friend told the court Thursday.
What happened next is in dispute.
Rodemann testified earlier that Sherwood pulled his pickup into the middle of the road, blocking her path. She said Sherwood got out of his pickup truck and told her if she couldn’t keep up with traffic, he had a right to kill her.
Sherwood, though, said he felt Rodemann was holding him up along the curvy road and that he was afraid someone was going to rear-end him. When she made a hand gesture, he testified in the earlier hearing, he pulled off the road and got out of his truck “to give her a piece of my mind.”
The dispute prompted general district court Judge Patrick Yeatts to speak out during the hearing about the increasing lack of civility on public roadways.
On Thursday, Friend told Judge John Cook the prosecutor’s office agreed to amend Sherwood’s assault charge to reckless driving and to drop the improper driving charge. The penalties, she said, remained the same as those imposed in the lower court.
Sherwood, who had appealed the July decision to circuit court, was fined $750 and sentenced to a suspended term of 30 days in jail. He must also complete a driver improvement course and may not have any contact with Rodemann.