A Stafford County jury Wednesday recommended nine and a half years in prison for a man who led police on a wild and lengthy high-speed chase earlier this year. During the pursuit, he struck two vehicles and narrowly missed several others.

Britney Odell Bates, 34, of King George County was convicted in Stafford Circuit Court of felony eluding, felony hit and run, felony destruction of property and driving on a suspended license. He will be formally sentenced Dec. 12.

According to evidence presented by prosecutor Ryan Fitzgerald, Bates was stopped for speeding on State Route 3 in southern Stafford the morning of Feb. 3 by Deputy Alexius Layug.

After several requests, Layug said he received a Maryland registration and returned to his cruiser. He noticed that the registration was in someone else’s name and that the plates on the vehicle were registered to Bates, but belonged on another vehicle.

Before Layug could return to the driver, Bates sped off. A pursuit ensued that included parts of U.S. 1, U.S. 17 and Interstate 95. The chase also went into Prince William County.

Emma Whitt was at the intersection of U.S. 1 and 17 in Falmouth late that morning when her car was struck by the fleeing vehicle. Whitt said the impact, which she described as “very scary,” took off the front end of her car.

Witnesses said Bates was weaving in and out of traffic on I–95 and passing on the shoulders during his flight and reached speeds of up to 122 mph. He left the interstate at the Garrisonville exit and was soon face to face with Layug’s cruiser.

He rammed Layug’s vehicle, disabling it, and got back on the interstate and continued into Prince William. Police lost sight of him at the time, but arrested him a couple of days later.

Bates claimed the man involved in the pursuit wasn’t him, but Layug got warrants after identifying him from a DMV photo. Layug again identified Bates in court Wednesday.

Fitzgerald argued that the danger Bates caused to the public that day was “absolutely horrifying. He put dozens and dozens of people in danger with his reckless behavior,” Fitzgerald said.

Bates is being represented by attorneys Cole Dadswell and Chris Brigante, who tried to have some of the felony charges reduced to misdemeanors.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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