Judge rules search by CBBT police did not follow policy

December 20, 2023
Accomack County Circuit Court D

By Linda Cicoira

Evidence was suppressed Monday in Northampton Circuit Court in the case of a felon accused of possessing guns and Schedule I or II drugs because a search of his car was not done according to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel police policy.

It was not disclosed if a jury trial for Trent Anderson Pritchett, of Norfolk, will still be conducted on Jan. 24, 2024, as scheduled.

Pritchett was in a crash on July 1, 2022, at the intersection of Lankford Highway and Wise Lane, just north of the bridge-tunnel. An officer who works at the facility responded to the two-car collision and soon learned that Pritchett, one of the drivers, was wanted in Norfolk.

She called for backup and the defendant was eventually taken to that city by one of the officers.

Defense lawyer Andre’ Wiggins contended that his client was not read his rights, was illegally interrogated, and that his car was searched against his constitutional rights regarding search and seizure.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Vincent deLalla argued that the car would have been searched anyway when it was impounded as that was the policy of the police.

While an officer admitted that not everything was inventoried during the search before the vehicle was taken to the impound, she said Pritchett told her a gun was under the passenger seat, where it was found. Another gun was in a bag in the trunk.

Body cams were played in court that were taken during the search. They showed none of the officers were writing the inventory while the search was going on. The policy said everything in the car should have been dialogued.

     “It was clear that the policy wasn’t followed,” Judge W. Revell Lewis III said.

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