Alabama veteran convicted of multiple charges after April 2020 police chase through Pulaski County

New River Valley News

(Photo: Courtesy New River Valley Regional Jail)

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — In April 2020, an Alabama man was charged with several offenses — including attempted capital murder — in connection with a police chase through the New River Valley. Nearly 18 months later, that man was sentenced more than six years in prison for the incident.

According to officials, on April 22, 2020, Virginia State Police were involved in a hectic pursuit on I-81 with a man who was reportedly traveling through Virginia with intentions to hurt another person.

Police found the man’s vehicle, a black Dodge Ram 1500, and tried to pull him over in Pulaski County. 

However, the driver refused to stop and led troopers on a chase, hitting several patrol vehicles in an attempt to run them off the road. Eventually, the troopers used stop sticks to disable the vehicle near mile marker 115 in Montgomery County before taking the driver into custody without incident.

On April 23, 2020, WFXR News reported that 53-year-old Kenneth Roy Williams of Meridianville, Alabama, was originally charged with the following

  • Two counts of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer
  • Two counts of felony eluding
  • Three counts of reckless driving
  • Two counts of obstruction of justice
  • One count of destruction of property
  • One count of hit and run

However, according to records from the Pulaski Circuit Court, Williams was convicted on Wednesday, Oct. 13 and sentenced to a total of six years and three months in prison for the following charges:

  • Two counts of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer (amended from two counts of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer):
    • Sentenced to 10 years with seven years and six months suspended, for a total of two years and six months
  • One count of felony eluding:
    • Sentenced to five years with three years and nine months suspended, for a total of one year and three months
  • One count of destruction of property:
    • Sentenced to five years with three years and nine months suspended, for a total of one year and three months
  • One count of hit and run:
    • Sentenced to five years with three years and nine months suspended, for a total of one year and three months

After Williams is released from prison, he will serve three years probation.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pulaski County, Justin Griffith, sent the following statement to WFXR News on Wednesday following Williams’ conviction:

Today in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Kenneth Roy Williams, was convicted of multiple crimes stemming from an incident that occurred in the Pulaski County portion of Interstate-81. The Virginia State Police while attempting to conduct a traffic stop based on information provided to them via a concerned member of Mr. Williams own family, were eventually able to stop the vehicle Mr. Williams was driving. It was immediately apparent to them through their training and experience that Mr. Williams was not mentally well. The Troopers, some of whom are veterans themselves, after learning that Mr. Williams was an honorably discharged Operation Desert Storm veteran were able to relate with him in a manner that allowed for him to be safely transported to the Magistrate’s Office. This is a specific example of law enforcement in Pulaski County is doing an outstanding job of enforcing the law but also conducting themselves in a manner that was safe for everyone. This is especially commendable considering the fact that Mr. Williams had struck a marked Virginia State Police vehicle with his vehicle before he was stopped.

After Mr. Williams was served with multiple warrants, the Pulaski County General District Court appropriately ordered a mental health evaluation be conducted. Mr. Williams after being deemed not competent to stand trial was then ordered to undergo restoration services in an attempt to be mentally fit to stand trial. Mental Health workers from our community, worked diligently to attempt to restore Mr. Williams to competency. He was able to be restored and his charges were certified to the October 12th, Pulaski County Grand Jury. It was important to James Crandall, a Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, to schedule a plea date for Mr. Williams as soon as possible.

Mr. Crandall met with numerous members of the Virginia State Police and they were all understanding of Mr. William’s mental health situation, which very apparently related to his time in the service. Mr. Crandall did an outstanding job of forging a path to justice that took into account the actions of Mr. Williams, his mental health related to his service to our country, and Mr. William’s efforts to be restored.

This case is a reminder of just how many veterans struggle to reintegrate out of the service and there is no set time line for when their struggles may lead them down this path. I see a need to have a Veterans Treatment Docket in Southwest Virginia because, in conjunction with other agencies, it could make a real difference in ensuring other veterans like Mr. Williams can receive specialized services, and individualized treatment plans. As our Office firmly believes they have earned that right and so much more. Serving your country is one of the greatest honors a person can have. We owe them everything we can do.

Justin L. Griffith, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pulaski County

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