A wreck in the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center parking lot lead to a guilty plea on Tuesday, July 13.
Christina Marie Perkins was indicted on one count of reckless fleeing from an officer in April 2021 by a Greenbrier County Grand Jury.
Perkins plead no contest to the indictment, meaning the court could find her guilty of the offense. However, the prosecution and defense agreed to instead enroll Perkins in the Greenbrier County Drug Court Program.
“If you’re successful in that program, you have a chance to come back before the court and withdraw your guilty plea and have the charge against you dismissed,” said Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Robert Richardson. “Under those circumstances, you would suffer no conviction at all with regard to this case. On the other hand, if you are unsuccessful in completing the drug court program, … you would be convicted of the felony … and would be subject to being sentenced.”
According to the state code, felony reckless fleeing could carry a sentence of $1,000 to $2,000 fine and imprisonment in a state correctional facility between one to five years.
During the hearing, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ryan Blake explained the circumstances around Perkins’ arrest. On December 15, 2020, Avery Demond Lewis, 46, of Dale Hollow Lane in Frankford and Christina Marie Perkins, 35, of Main Street in White Sulphur Springs were arrested after a chase.
“If this matter did, in fact, proceed to trial, the state would indent to introduce the following evidence – that on December 14, 2020, [a deputy] with the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department was patrolling the area of Fairlea in Greenbrier County,” said Blake. “Specifically, the [area near a Fairlea trailer park], in reference to an investigation that was being conducted … regarding one Avery Lewis. It was believed that Mr. Lewis was a passenger in a tan Chevrolet Malibu vehicle that was driven by the defendant.”
According to the criminal complaint, after the vehicle attempted to get away on Route 219, Perkins struck the stone sign near the entrance to the parking lot.
“The vehicle did enter that intersection at a wide angle and struck the stone sign at the entrance of the parking lot, lost control, then spun in circles and came to a rest near the vehicles in the parking lot,” said Blake. “At this point, [the deputy] noticed Mr. Lewis exited the passenger side of the vehicle and did attempt to flee the scene. [The deputy] also noticed and alleges that Ms. Perkins attempted to flee the parking lot area in the vehicle and that deputy confronted her, instructing her to exit the vehicle. She complied after multiple attempts. … She was placed in custody.”
Lewis is alleged to have then attempted to flee the area. However, deputies were able to detain Lewis on the ground beside their patrol car. As deputies were detaining Lewis, Perkins then also allegedly attempted to flee the parking lot with her vehicle. According to the criminal complaint, deputies approached the vehicle and instructed Perkins “to stop and exit the vehicle.”
After the instruction had been repeated several times, Perkins complied and exited the vehicle with her hands raised. Deputies then took Perkins immediately into custody. Once both Perkins and Lewis had been secured, deputies performed a search of Perkins’ vehicle. The complaint also states that within Perkins’ vehicle deputies located two plastic baggies, which contained a white crystal-like substance. The contents of both bags were tested, yielding positive results for methamphetamine and fentanyl.
In a no contest plea, the defendant accepts any consequences for the charges but does not admit guilt. Perkins explained why she would take the plea deal despite contesting the facts, and noted she lives with a drug addiction.
“I believe that this is the best thing, even though stuff happened that didn’t happen, I believe that taking it to trial wouldn’t be in my best interest,” said Perkins. “It’s he said and she said, and I can’t run the risk of becoming a convicted felon. … That’s the only reason. I’m scared of taking it to trial and losing there.”
Richardson accepted the plea and moved forward with placing Perkins in the Greenbrier County Drug Court Program.
“Ms. Perkins, I look forward to working with you in the drug court program. I hope that you will use that opportunity to equip yourself to live a drug and substance abuse free lifestyle. It is not an easy program, as you indicated. … There are two things that I tell to every participant in the drug court program. …
Richardson also offered some advice on how to get through the drug court.
“If you do these two things, all the other rules and requirements will fall into place,” Richardson said. “First is to show up. … That’s more than just having your body where it’s supposed to be, but it’s having all of yourself where you’re supposed to be and focused on the thing you need to be doing. … The second thing that I always emphasize to new drug court participants is that they need to be honest. In order for people to help you, and the drug court is intended to help you, you have to be honest with yourself and the people that are trying to help. … You’ll have life-long benefits from having avoided the life-long detriment of having a felony conviction. Good luck.”