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McKenney guilty of assaulting sheriff’s deputy

Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 4:00 am

Almost a year after the incident that led to his arrest, Clarence “Juice” McKenney had his day in court and was found guilty of three charges stemming from the bizarre Aug. 17, 2011 incident when he waved a gun at a county sheriff’s deputy and drove the deputy’s car down his driveway.

McKenney chose a trial by judge and Circuit Court Judge Joseph Spruill found him guilty of assault on a police officer, eluding police, and unauthorized use of a police vehicle. McKenney had been charged with attempted capital murder, but Spruill found him guilty of the lesser assault charge instead.

Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O. Balderson said that at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 17, 2011, the sheriff’s office received a phone call complaining of a reckless driver on state Route 202. Deputy Antwan Smith saw the vehicle, an orange Camero, driving in the wrong traffic lane and turned his vehicle to make a traffic stop. A pursuit ensued, Balderson said, and ended at McKenney’s Mount Holly address.

Once there, Balderson said McKenney exited his vehicle and drew a weapon on Smith. Smith, who was in front of his vehicle, drew his own weapon and retreated behind his vehicle and toward a wood-line on the property.

At this point, McKenney entered Smith’s vehicle, used the radio to make disparaging comments to law enforcement, including personal remarks about Balderson, and backed the vehicle down his driveway. When he reached the end of his driveway, Balderson said that he saw he was surrounded by law enforcement that had responded to the scene and moved the vehicle back up the driveway.

“He did drive the car down his driveway,” Balderson said. “The car never got onto the roadway.”

Balderson, who was at his home when this incident occurred, came to the scene and contacted McKenney by cell phone. When he arrived at the scene, Balderson approached McKenney, unarmed, and was able to arrest him without further incident.

When the arrest occurred, former Westmoreland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dean Atkins asked for a special prosecutor to handle the case and King George County Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Britton was appointed. Atkins cited a personal conflict since he knew McKenney personally. When current Commonwealth’s Attorney Julia Sichol took office in January, she took the case back onto her office’s case load because she has no personal ties to McKenney.

McKenney, who has been in jail at Northern Neck Regional Jail since the incident occurred, now awaits sentencing on Oct. 12.