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A judge who hears cases in Grayson and Carroll counties pleaded guilty Friday to a hit-and-run charge fewer than three months after he pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge stemming from a separate incident.
Virginia State Police charged Michael Keith Blankenship, 44, of Wytheville with hit-and-run May 3 after witnesses identified him as the driver who left the scene of a crash about 5:15 p.m. April 27.
The 2006 Subaru Forester he was driving ran off the side of Huguenot Springs Road in Powhatan County, which is west of Richmond, and hit a telephone line box, police said. The car continued into an adjacent yard before crossing back over the road and hitting an embankment on the left side, uprooting a tree, police said.
Friday morning in Powhatan County General District Court, Blankenship was fined $200 and ordered to pay restitution for the damage he caused, a court official said.
She said the amount of that restitution will be determined within 30 days and must be paid during that time.
Blankenship pleaded guilty May 20 in Smyth County General District Court to reckless driving and refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test related to a separate incident.
He had been charged with driving under the influence after he was pulled over the evening of March 1 on Interstate 81 between Chilhowie and Marion, but the DUI charge was reduced.
In that case, he was fined $100 and his driver’s license was suspended for a year.
Blankenship, a former Wythe County commonwealth’s attorney who hears cases primarily in Wythe County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, sits in the 27th Judicial District, which covers Montgomery, Floyd, Giles, Pulaski, Carroll, Wythe, Grayson and Bland counties and the cities of Radford and Galax.
His defense attorney, Michael Barbour, said after the May hearing that Blankenship had chosen to go on leave from his judgeship indefinitely. Barbour couldn’t be reached for comment after Blankenship’s latest conviction.