A driver convicted twice of racing on Interstate 95 in Stafford County, Virginia, with his 2-month-old baby in the back seat of his car could face up to 18 months in jail.
On Tuesday, a circuit court jury recommended 23-year-old Dario Jovel, of Woodbridge, serve a year-and-a-half behind bars, after being convicted of racing and reckless driving — both misdemeanors.
According to Stafford County prosecutors, on Jan. 13, 2020 a Virginia State Police trooper using radar observed Jovel driving 105 miles an hour on I-95 south near Garrisonville Road, where the speed limit is 65 miles per hour.
The trooper testified he saw Jovel’s wife and baby in the back seat of Jovel’s new Honda Civic Type R.
Jovel was initially convicted of the same charges in December 2020, by a district court judge, and sentenced to eight months in jail. In Virginia, a defendant can appeal a district court conviction and sentence in the county’s circuit court, where a jury can decide guilt or innocence.
Jovel will formally be sentenced in June. Judges in Virginia can reduce a jury’s recommended sentence, but usually go along with the recommendation.
Jovel’s defense attorney, Adam Calinger, was not immediately available to discuss the possibility of future appeals when contacted by WTOP.
According to online court records, last month Jovel was also convicted in Fairfax County of racing in November 2020, was fined $1,000 and had his driver’s license suspended for six months.