John Hopkins The Virginian-Pilot January 20, 2001 Saturday Final Edition Copyright 2001 Landmark Communications, Inc. The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) January 20, 2001 Saturday Final Edition
(NORFOLK, Va.) -- Maj. Jack P. Benzie Jr., the fourth-highest-ranking officer in the Portsmouth sheriff's office, was cleared of a driving under the influence charge stemming from an October single-car crash on U.S. 58 in Suffolk.
Benzie, a 15-year veteran in the sheriff's office, was traveling west on U.S. 58 during the early-morning hours of Oct. 7 when he lost control of his unmarked sheriff's car, police said. The city-owned car was totaled in the crash, with an estimated $14,000 in damages, according to a Suffolk police report.
Benzie, who appeared in General District Court in Suffolk on Tuesday, was convicted of reckless driving, fined $200 and charged $40 in court costs. A spokeswoman for the sheriff's office said Benzie was suspended for two weeks without pay after the crash.
Benzie's car crashed into sand barrels on the right side of the highway, the accident report says. The car then hit a concrete safety barrier on the right side of the road and bounced across two westbound lanes.
The car then struck a guardrail on the left side of the road and went into a 360-degree spin before crossing back over two lanes and coming to rest against a concrete safety barrier on the right side of the road, according to the police report.
The report says Benzie was traveling 55 mph on the highway. Sometime after the accident, Benzie was subjected to a blood test instead of an on-the-scene breath sobriety test.
The vehicle involved in the crash was Benzie's take-home vehicle, owned and self-insured by the city of Portsmouth.