After an incident on March 2, Republican Del. Matt Fariss is facing two felony charges—malicious wounding and being involved in a hit-and-run—according to the Associated Press. He’s also charged with misdemeanor reckless driving.
Fariss represents the 59th House District, which covers parts of Albemarle, Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell, and Nelson counties. He has served in the House of Delegates since 2012.
Fariss allegedly swerved his SUV toward a woman after they argued and struck her, leaving her with minor injuries.
According to the Associated Press, the woman told police that, while she was riding in a car with Fariss on March 2, he passed a car at “excessive speed” then blew out a tire. The woman says Fariss then pulled into a church parking lot, where he became “irate” while talking on the phone with his son.
As Fariss became more aggressive, the woman said she got out of the car and began walking up Route 501 towards her cousin’s house. The woman told police that Fariss began driving and yelling at her to get back in the car. Then Fariss allegedly made a 90-degree turn and struck the woman with his Chevrolet Tahoe.
The woman says she then ran away, fearing he might shoot her, though it’s unclear if Fariss had a gun in his possession. It’s also unclear what the woman’s relationship is to Fariss.
A man witnessed the incident as well and “came down his driveway yelling,” according to the woman’s account.
This isn’t Fariss’ first time having trouble with the law. In 2016, he was charged for his involvement in a hit-and-run, as well. He pleaded guilty.
Virginia State Police (VSP) told the Associated Press in a statement that they were called to investigate the hit-and-run Thursday afternoon in Campbell County. Through investigation, state police identified Fariss as the driver of a 2015 Tahoe that fled the scene after striking the woman, according to the statement from VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller. Fariss turned himself in on March 3 and was released on bond.
“I am certain that Virginia’s legal system will ascertain all the facts and adjudicate the matter in a timely and just fashion,” House Speaker Todd Gilbert said in a statement provided to the Associated Press.
In a statement provided by an aide to the Associated Press, Fariss denied all allegations against him.
“While I may have made some mistakes in my life, these charges are false,” he said. “I look forward to clearing them in a court of law.”
Fariss’ arraignment is scheduled for March 17.
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