By Linda Cicoira

A Birdnest man wasn’t drinking alcohol or doing drugs and he wasn’t armed in August of 2020. But he was driving someone else’s car and his license had been revoked.

Forty-two-year-old Jamar Jones said he was scared of being confronted by police because of the nationwide publicity about brutality. So, when a Northampton deputy tried to stop him in the wee hours of the morning for not having a lighted license plate holder, he kept driving, sometimes in excess 85 mph. He said he wasn’t aware that the light was out. Authorities said he was swerving and drove fast through residential neighborhoods in Exmore and Belle Haven.

Jones pleaded guilty, Thursday, in Accomack Circuit Court, to two counts of hit and run and a misdemeanor count of assault and battery of a police officer. He said he stopped at Phillips Hardware, in Belle Haven, because he wanted to face police around someone who knew him and he sometimes prays with the storeowner.

It was unclear why he was apprehended after passing over Shield’s Bridge if he stopped at the hardware store.

“It just happened so quickly, I got scared,” Jones testified. He said in order to stop him, the officers “hit me twice, so basically both cars got damaged.” He said he was sorry for putting himself and others in danger. Jones also said there was no traffic, “just me and the officer. I kick myself in the butt every day for what I did. I was scared … I’m here to take full responsibility for my actions.”

The officers were not called to testify. Judge W. Revell Lewis said Jones was convicted of 19 crimes since the late 1990s. He sentenced him to two years and a month of active time for these charges. The judge would not allow Jones to remain free on bond until a charge of eluding was settled in Northampton court on Monday. The sentences were reduced from a total of 11 years.