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Virginia drunk driving: Deputy's DUI acquittal not end of story

Many in the Virginia Beach area are taking issue with the recent court action that involved the son of the Virginia Beach Sheriff. Regardless of the perspectives being voiced by many that the defendant involved in the case appears to have received special treatment, we offer the view that perhaps there are aspects of the case that are not immediately apparent.

The defendant in the case was 27-year-old Kenneth Stolle Jr. In addition to being the son of the local sheriff, he is also a deputy with the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office. He was called into court for suspicion of driving under the influence.

According to court records, Stolle was picked up Nov. 14. Police said that an officer witnessed Stolle leaving the scene of a crash. Two blocks later, the officer pulled Stolle over. The official DUI worksheet records that the officer smelled alcohol on the suspect and that he seemed impaired. The sheet also indicates that the suspect refused a field sobriety test. Later, a breath test indicated a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Authorities appear to have done all they could to alleviate the possibility of special treatment. Noting that the defendant was the son and nephew of noted public officials, a substitute judge was brought in to hear the case. A special prosecutor from Norfolk was also assigned to the matter.

The trial was held earlier this month. In the course of the proceedings, the judge ruled that the breath test results were inadmissible. The judge also ruled that there wasn't probable cause for the DUI arrest, so Stolle was cleared of that charge. But the judge did find him guilty of misdemeanor hit-and run and fined him to $250.

What we invite the public to remember is this: the accident that apparently triggered all the events caused no injury and did less than $500 in damage to the other vehicle. Also, the suspect in the case now does have a misdemeanor conviction on his record. And perhaps most notable is that he remains on unpaid leave from his job pending an internal investigation.

Source: HamptonRoads.com, "Chesapeake deputy acquitted in Va. Beach DUI case," Kathy Adams, The Virginian-Pilot, May 3, 2013