HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Court records show that the man accused of killing an off-duty Henrico police officer has a history of breaking the law and rushing away from authorities afterwards.
30-year-old Justin Thomas Regensburg is the man arrested for allegedly hitting and killing Captain Donald Lambert Jr. before driving away from the scene on Saturday.
8News is digging into the suspect’s lengthy criminal history.
On November 27, 2015, he was arrested by Hanover County Sheriff’s Office deputies on five charges, including one for trying to avoid police when they tried to take him in.
“These charges stemmed from a traffic stop that was initiated by one of our patrol deputies. Regensburg initially fled from the traffic stop on foot but was apprehended shortly after by deputies close to the scene,” public information officer James Cooper told 8News on Monday.
Cooper said at the time of this incident, Regensburg had outstanding warrants which were served on him that day. He served six months behind bars after that.
Since then, he’s been charged for at least two other times, including both petit larceny and failure to appear in court. Court records indicate those charges were eventually dropped or dismissed.
After Saturday’s hit-and-run, Regensburg is now facing another handful charges, including three felonies. The victim is a 33-year veteran of the police department.
Lambert was off-duty jogging near the corner of Greenwood and Winfrey road on Saturday morning. Police say Regensburg was driving a family member’s tow truck without their permission when he hit and killed Lambert — then sped off.
After Lambert was killed, a busy, all-hands-on-deck manhunt began. About 24-hours after the incident, he was seen in King William.
The King William County Sheriff’s Office said that on Sunday, Feb. 28, Henrico police alerted them to Regensburg’s possible location. Deputies said they saw Regensburg leaving a home on Oxford Lane heading east on Richmond-Tappahannock Highway.
According to Sheriff Jeff Walton, a deputy tried to stop Regensburg but he didn’t stop his car right away. The deputy chased the suspect for about 3-miles before he was captured.
Regensburg was then turned over to Henrico authorities.
The 30-year-old was arraigned in Henrico County’s general district court on Monday morning. The case was continued to Thursday morning, when a special prosecutor will begin handling the case. He was appointed a lawyer.
In addition to the “felony hit-and-run of a pedestrian” charge, he’s also facing a felony for hitting and a car with people inside it and driving off. Henrico police said Regensburg hit that car just a few blocks before he hit Lambert. His other charges related to this incident include unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving without a valid drivers license.
In an emotional tribute Sunday, Henrico Police Chief Eric English remembered Lambert’s 33 years of service. “He was just a committed, genuine, individual. He cared about people,” English said.
The circumstances surrounding Lambert’s death have been especially difficult for his peers to grapple with. Captain Lambert spent many years working to keep Henrico’s roads safe for both drivers and pedestrians.
“We had just had this conversation three weeks ago in a retreat. How can we prevent traffic crashes. So how ironic that he becomes a victim. So it’s tough. It’s tough,” English said.
Lambert leaves behind a wife and four children. His wife works in Henrico County’s human resources department.
Several agencies from across the Commonwealth tweeted out their condolences following the news Saturday, including the Virginia Chiefs of Police, where Lambert was a graduate of one of their leadership programs.
He’s remembered as a dedicated, knowledgeable, caring captain who was known and loved by many.