RADFORD — A former Radford University administrator who said she did not realize that police and sheriff’s deputies were trying to pull her over agreed Thursday to pay for the spike strips that eventually stopped her.
Susana Carrillo, 61, pleaded guilty in Radford General District Court to an amended charge of reckless driving, resolving the last of her court cases from a March 2 incident in which officers pursued her from Christiansburg into Radford.
Judge Erin DeHart accepted a plea agreement that included a suspended jail sentence, a $500 fine, and $216 restitution to the city for the spike strips that ended what Carrillo had described as a sort of unwitting flight.
“I was driving home … and saw blue lights,” Carrillo said in March. “I didn’t know it was the police, and all of a sudden my tires were flat.”
At the time, Carrillo was less than three months into a job as Radford University’s assistant provost for global education and engagement, a position that followed years of work at the World Bank and with international education and workforce development programs.
According to a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office statement in March, a deputy spotted Carrillo driving “in the middle of two lanes” on Christiansburg’s Depot Street. The deputy put on lights and a siren to try to stop her, but Carrillo continued down U.S. 11. The deputy followed, summoning Christiansburg and Radford police officers.
About 5 miles later, as Carrillo entered Radford, city police placed spike strips across the road in front of her, ending the chase.
Once stopped, Carrillo was cooperative, officers said. A blood test found no alcohol or drugs.
Last month, Carrillo appeared in Montgomery County General District Court, where a charge of eluding police was dropped and a charge of intoxicated driving was amended to reckless driving. Carrillo was convicted of the Montgomery reckless driving charge, fined $500, and put on probation for a year.
At Thursday’s hearing in Radford, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Annis moved to amend a charge of eluding police to reckless driving as part of an agreement worked out with defense attorney Jeff Jankovich of Arlington County.
Adopting the recommendations of the plea agreement, DeHart found Carrillo guilty of reckless driving and imposed a 180-day jail sentence, then suspended all of it. DeHart also suspended $2,000 of a $2,500 fine, ordered the restitution, and said Carrillo must avoid further legal problems for the next year.
Carrillo said she would pay the city for the spike strips on Thursday.
Since March, Carrillo has left the university and moved to Charlotte, N.C.
In March, Carrillo said that upon being released from jail, she received a letter from the university letting her know that she had been suspended and put on administrative leave.
University spokeswoman Caitlyn Scaggs said in March that school officials knew so quickly about the matter because a university police officer was there when the vehicle was stopped and Carrillo was arrested.