RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After City Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch admitted last week to hitting a parked car, driving home and calling police the next morning, court records uncovered by 8News detail a string of traffic infractions on her record.
The 5th district representative has faced five traffic charges since 2011. They included failure to obey a highway sign, disregarding a red light and two speeding charges in Richmond.
Lynch paid over $400 in fines after the charges, and all occurred before she was sworn into office in 2019 during a special election.
But just four and a half months before last Monday’s Southside crash, Lynch was charged with holding a phone while operating a vehicle in Henrico County. Documents indicate she was absent from court, and found guilty.
The circumstances of the August 2 incident are similar to the version of events Lynch described to 8News after she hit a parked SUV on West 31st street around 10 p.m. last Monday.
The councilwoman said she was attempting to plug-in her cell phone, became distracted and hit the idle vehicle; she denied having been under the influence before the incident.
Immediately after the most recent accident, 8News asked Lynch why she did not remain on scene and call police. Lynch said she had never been in an accident before and was unsure what to do.
While the councilwoman’s record does not include any prior accidents, it does indicate that she has a history of distracted and unsafe driving.
The Richmond Police Department charged Lynch with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident involving unattended property — both are misdemeanors.
A video recording unearthed from a 2019 city council meeting shows Lynch offering support for a bill to block people from distracted driving in Richmond.
“I’d be honored to co-patron this bill. It would be my first one. I would be honored,” Lynch said following public comment on the matter.
Richmond Police said Lynch is due in court on February 3, but online court records have not yet been updated to reflect this.
Lynch did not respond to an 8News request for comment about her driving record prior to this story’s publication.