A Virginia man has been found not guilty of reckless driving in Spotsylvania, VA. He was accused of reckless driving in an incident that killed noted local radio personality Brian Strobel.
Ralph Thomas Rapillo was charged with reckless driving when his vehicle ran off the road and struck Strobel.
Judge Ricardo Rigual ruled in Spotsylvania County General District Court the evidence was not sufficient in supporting a reckless driving charge. He declared Rapillo not guilty.
The accident occurred in the early evening hours of March 7, 2012 as Rapillo was driving his 2001 Nissan near Harris Mill Court in Spotsylvania. His vehicle ran off the street, hit a mailbox and struck Strobel who was walking his dog off the roadway.
Strobel was thrown onto the hood of the vehicle and then to the ground where he was run over. He was pronounced dead on the scene. The vehicle then hit a garbage receptacle before coming to a stop in a nearby yard.
Rapillo stopped at the scene and dialed 911. It is unsure what caused Rapillo to lose control of his vehicle. Police say weather conditions were clear and there were no signs of drug or alcohol use. Phone records also show that the accused was not on his cellular device at the time of the accident.
Mark Gardner, Rapillo’s defense attorney, argued there was no evidence his client was driving recklessly: “The mere fact that an accident occurred does not automatically mean it was reckless driving. Mr. Rapillo has civil liability, not criminal.”
The Court agreed. Ralph Thomas Rapillo was found not guilty of reckless driving in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.