Nationals Right Fielder Jayson Werth Found Guilty of Reckless Driving in Virginia - NBC4 Washington

Nationals Right Fielder Jayson Werth Found Guilty of Reckless Driving in Virginia

Trooper said when he pulled over Werth, he initially pulled out his gun because Werth was driving so fast

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    Jayson Werth Gets Jail for Reckless Driving

    Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey reports on the Nationals' Jayson Werth sentenced to jail for reckless driving. (Published Friday, Dec. 5, 2014)

    Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth was found guilty of reckless driving Friday after he was paced driving 50 mph over the speed limit in Virginia last summer.

    He was sentenced Friday to serve 10 days in jail, with another 170 days suspended, reported News4's Julie Carey. Werth's driver's license also was suspended for six months, and he was fined $1,000.

    However, Werth will likely serve five days of his sentence, though his attorney has already appealed. Werth won't have to serve jail time during the appeal process. 

    The Nationals star was pulled over the morning of July 6 for driving 105 mph in a 55-mph zone in Fairfax County, Virginia State Police said. 

    The trooper, P.L. Green, said in court Friday that the incident began when he was driving northbound on the Beltway and he heard what sounded like a race car on the Georgetown Pike ramp to the Beltway.

    The trooper said he paced Werth's car going as fast as 105 mph -- and Werth was still pulling away. He turned on his lights and sirens as soon as they got onto the George Washington Parkway, at which point Werth immediately pulled over.

    Green said he initially pulled out his gun because Werth was driving so fast. Werth put his hands out the window, and the trooper re-holstered his gun.

    "I said, 'What are you doing?'" Green said. He testified that Werth told him he was pressing his luck, saying that traffic was light and he didn't feel like he was out of control.

    "I told him I thought 105 was a little excessive," Green testified.

    Werth's defense attorney, Rod Leffler, argued in court that the six-tenths of a mile that the incident spanned was such a short distance that Green couldn't be sure Werth was driving 105.

    Werth took the stand in his own defense. When his lawyer asked of his car, "Is that a fast car?" Werth responded, "I would say so, sir."

    "Is it a loud car?" Leffler asked. Werth said that it was.

    Werth also testified that he had previously driven his Porsche on a racetrack, and from that experience knew what it was like to drive faster than 100.

    "At any point do you feel you exceeded 90 mph?," Leffler asked.

    Werth responded: "It's possible, not much more than that. It was under 100 for sure."

    Leffler also challenged Green on the calibration of his cruiser, but Judge Penny Azcarte ruled that she still believed Werth was was driving more than 100 mph.

    Leffler also tried to argue that Werth wasn't endangering anyone because he was on a ramp and not on the Beltway.

    Judge Azcarti told Werth, "Speed does kill, and it does not discern what a person does or does for a living. I-495 is not a racetrack."

    The Nationals issued a statement on Werth's conviction Friday afternoon.

    "We are aware of the judge's ruling today," said Mike Rizzo, general manager and president of baseball operations for the Nationals. "Jayson has cooperated fully with the authorities throughout this process. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to comment any further at this time."

    Werth signed a seven-year deal with the Nationals in 2010 worth $126 million.