Eric Matthew George was sentenced by Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Robert Richardson to three to 45 years of imprisonment on Tuesday, June 22, after striking a plea deal.
George was recently found guilty by the court after Richardson approved a plea deal between George, represented by Defense Attorney Paul Detch, and the Greenbrier County Prosecutor’s Office. George was convicted of two counts of reckless fleeing and one count of burglary.
Richardson noted a sentence of active imprisonment would be proper in this case due to George’s previous experience with alternative sentencing.
“He has a significant substance abuse history, which has undoubtedly contributed to his problems with the law over the years. … He has a significant history of noncompliance with community based correctional programs,” Richardson said. “That would include a pretrial diversion and a drug court diversion, as well as prohibition following his completion of the program at Anthony Correctional Center. Under these circumstances, a sentence of active imprisonment is appropriate, as the parties have recommended to the court.”
George was indicted in three separate cases, one in 2017 and two in 2020. The charges included burglary, felony reckless fleeing from an officer, and driving while license revoked for driving under the influence of alcohol, and more.
Each set of indictments arises from a different incident. George was charged with misdemeanor battery on a law enforcement officer and felony fleeing from an officer while under the influence of alcohol for an encounter with police on August 23, 2020. According to the criminal complaint, officers received a be on the lookout call for a vehicle driven by George. After George failed to stop at a stop light, officers began to pursue, but the suspect vehicle continued to drive away at high speeds.
“I saw that the driver’s vehicle was struggling taking turns at a high rate of speed due to it fish-tailing through the turns,” reads the criminal complaint. “We then came upon a sharp left-hand turn. I felt our car slowing down to take the turn, but the suspect’s car did not. The Mazda then ran through a fence almost flipping over on its top, this occurred one mile north of the Grand Ave/Fairview Road intersection. [The officers] then got out of the cruiser guns drawn.”
George did not immediately exit the vehicle.
“The driver then stuck out his hand out of the window and appeared to be clapping. The driver of the vehicle opened the door. … The suspect started to reach under the driver seat, at which point both Rodoussakis and I were yelling at him to stop reaching. The driver then gave up [whatever] ever he was reaching for and laid on his stomach.”
After securing the scene, Emergency Medical Services arrived to make sure the uncooperating suspect was seen by a medical provider after the crash. Later, George failed a field sobriety test.
“They got [the suspect] out of the back,” the complaint reads. “He immediately began to stare me down and began to get into my face. At which point I escorted him to the ambulance and asking him to sit on the step. Eric then began to spit. He again stared me down and spat on my leg. I then walked away and let EMS handle him from there.”
In September 2020, George was involved in another chase attempting to pull him over for a headlight. Officers used a spike strip to stop his vehicle near the Brush Road and Anderson Road intersection, busting the passenger tires. After stopping
“[Officers were] trying to gain control of Mr. George so he could be placed into handcuffs,” reads the complaint. “Mr. George was continuing to resist. After a brief struggle we were able to place Mr. George into handcuffs and under arrest.”
When asked if he would like to make a statement to the court before sentencing on Tuesday, George agreed.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” said George. “I’m hoping that I can get my drug addiction under control and turn my life around.”
For each of the three offenses, George was sentenced to serve jail time for one to 15 years for each offense. These sentences will run one after the other, meaning George faces between three and 45 years. However, Richardson granted credit for 650 days served, including time he had previously served at Anthony Correctional Center. In addition, Richardson recommended George for the residential substance abuse treatment program offered by the Division of Corrections.
“You’ll still have a period of time to serve before you’re eligible for parole,” Richardson said. “It is my hope that you will use that time to address your substance abuse problem. Simply being away from drugs in a correctional facility is not treatment, you need more than that, which is why I’m recommending you for the substance abuse treatment program. I hope you will find it a benefit.”