Elizabeth Daly, a 20-year-old student at the University of Virginia, breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday as three felony charges against her were dropped. Daly had purchased bottled water from a grocery store, LaCroix sparkling water for a sorority benefit fundraiser. A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents in plainclothes then approached Daly, with her bottled water, cookie dough, and ice cream as she was walking to her vehicle.
Daly became frightened, seeing a group of armed people approach her, and ran into her car along with her roommates. The ABC agents suspected the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water was a 12-pack of beer. One of the agents jumped on the hood of Daly’s vehicle. Another drew a gun.
“They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform,” she remembered Thursday in a written account of the April 11 incident. “I couldn’t put my windows down unless I started my car, and when I started my car they began yelling to not move the car, not to start the car. They began trying to break the windows. My roommates and I were … terrified,” Daly stated.
Daly’s statement was “factually consistent,” stated Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman, but Daly had angered upset the ABC agents and was charged with three felonies. Daly was charged with two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and a third felony count of eluding police. Each charge was a Class 6 felony with a combined total of up to 15 years in jail and $7,500 in fines. Daly apparently incurred the assault charges when she “grazed” two agents with her SUV. Her front-seat passenger was in a panic, yelling, “go, go, go” as the ABC agents pulled guns and climbed onto the hood of the vehicle filled with terrified sorority girls.
The women dialed 911 as they pulled out of the parking lot, and reported what happened. Daly was planning on heading to a nearby police station. Instead, she stopped as she saw an agent driving nearby with lights and sirens.
Daly apologized profusely when she realized the armed group surrounding her vehicle was, in fact, law enforcement, but the terrified young woman still ended up in jail. Prosecutors dropped all charges against Daly on Thursday.
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