The former Uber driver who allegedly struck Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill last year entered a plea agreement on July 23.
Gigssa Bekele Bengessa pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a parking lot and to a felony hit and run. He will face some jail time and three years of probation.
In January 2020, Bengessa attempted to drive out of the towing lot in Ballston as O’Neill was closing the gate, according to a police report from the time. Bengessa struck him, a dumpster and light pole.
Per the plea agreement, provided to ARLnow, he will be sentenced to jail for a net of 10 days — 90 days, with 80 days suspended. During the time of his suspended sentence, he will be supervised. His driver’s license will be suspended for six months.
Provided that Bengessa meets all the court’s prescriptions over the next three years, he will be able to have the felony charge knocked down to a misdemeanor, the agreement said.
Bengessa has three years to pay court costs as well as $5,516.35, plus interest, to O’Neill for restitution.
He is being required to “follow all treatment recommendations made” after a psychologist’s evaluation from March 2020, according to the plea deal, and will “undergo any further mental health evaluations deemed appropriate” by his probation officer.
Further, Bengessa will be “prohibited from driving or operating any and all rideshare vehicles, including but not limited to: Uber, Lyft, taxi service, or any vehicle for hire,” the plea deal said.
The agreement comes as the Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring, is preparing to go to trial in a lawsuit against Advanced Towing. The suit was filed in June 2020 and a trial date is scheduled for Oct. 6 of this year.
Herring’s complaint alleges that Advanced Towing has violated state and county towing code provisions, resulting in towing conduct that is “frequently predatory, aggressive, overreaching and illegal.”
“Virginia consumers should not have to worry about towing companies acting illegally or employing predatory, unsafe business practices,” Herring said in a statement last year. “My team and I will continue to hold towing companies and bad actors accountable when they break the law and take advantage of consumers.”
This is not the first time such an accusation has been leveled against the company. Advanced, which tows cars that are considered to be trespassing on private lots and then charges the vehicle’s owner a fee, faces frequent accusations of “predatory” towing.
The company gained national notoriety in 2015 after video emerged of an ESPN reporter, whose car was towed, berating an Advanced employee.
It has been an eventful couple of weeks for BMW drivers in the Crystal City and Pentagon City area. Last night another BMW was taken during a carjacking, by suspects…
There is a significant police presence at Wakefield High School this morning after a possible drug overdose.
One person was seriously injured and Bob & Edith’s Diner was damaged after two separate incidents of gunfire in Arlington last night.
Rent Growth Slowed in 2022 — “Add together the past five years… and the Arlington apartment market has somewhat underperformed the nation as a whole, according to new data… But…
Need help dealing with anxiety, depression or stress?
If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, depression or stress, our virtual psychotherapy services can help. We offer a confidential and convenient service that’s tailored to your needs.
In our practice, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is an important tool we use to provide effective relief for those facing anxiety and depression. We believe that cognitive change can be used to improve behaviors and emotions, thus allowing you to achieve mental wellness. By understanding the cognitive distortions that lead to negative thought patterns, we are able to create interventions tailored to each of our clients. This empowering approach can help you gain control of how your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors impact your experience. With CBT, our service provides an effective treatment that can bring long-term change and mental stability.
Book a free consultation today and see how we can help you live a happier and healthier life.
St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join us for a series of vignettes that revolve around the theme of love. Taking place in an almost-town called Almost, Maine, we will show you different, but important, facet of love in each