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Teen accused of trying to hit Albemarle officer during police chase

A young man who Albemarle County police say initially attracted their attention last summer for speeding and spinning his tires in a convenience store parking lot could soon be going to trial on an array of charges including eluding and attacking police.

Nineteen-year-old Charlottesville restaurant worker Kian Emanuel Goldstein has been challenging allegations that he zoomed toward officers in a Wawa parking lot and then fled police in a high-speed chase on Proffit Road.

The Aug. 30 incident initially resulted in eight charges, including abduction for allegedly refusing, during the chase, to discharge his passenger. A judge subsequently dropped the abduction charge, but an Albemarle County grand jury certified six others, including felony eluding, assault and battery of a law enforcement officer and driving while intoxicated.

“He was unsteady on his feet, his eyes were glassy, and his speech was slurred,” wrote Albemarle County police officer Daniel Shetler, who obtained the initial arrest warrants.

Shetler claimed that the vehicle’s lights were switched off at one point in an effort to elude officers and that the driver, Goldstein, leaped from the vehicle in a desperate attempt to flee the scene after the officer finally got him to stop.

Shetler alleged that the teen, despite being too young to legally possess alcohol, smelled like spirits and that when he peered into the vehicle he saw an open container of Twisted Tea, a brand of “hard” iced tea.

“When questioned about the beverage, Mr. Goldstein stated he wanted his lawyer,” Shetler wrote.

Court records show that Goldstein initially hired Scott Goodman as his lawyer but then opted for Heather Carlton to represent him.

Goldstein has previously contested a charge accusing him of mishandling a motor vehicle. Albemarle court records show that he initially pleaded guilty on April 14 of last year to a February charge of reckless driving for going 70 in a 45 mph zone, an incident that was captured on police radar on U.S. 29 north of Forest Lakes South. A month after his plea, however, Goldstein lodged an appeal with the circuit court. But before the matter could reach a judge, the Wawa incident and subsequent chase landed him in jail for a week. While he received a form of pretrial incarceration that allowed him to go home with an electronic monitor, Goldstein withdrew his appeal about a month later on Oct. 11.

Among the six charges now facing Goldstein is a charge of malicious bodily injury to a police officer. Shetler’s narrative asserts that one officer jumped to the ground to avoid Goldstein’s vehicle in the Wawa parking lot, but the criminal complaint is silent about what injuries, if any, the officer suffered.

In recent years, after the widespread unrest that followed the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd under the knee of a police officer, police have often pushed for felony convictions when officers have felt under attack. A Halloween 2021 incident on the Corner in Charlottesville, for instance, resulted in a felony conviction last year for the recent college graduate who punched an officer.

In recent years, the value of police chases has been questioned, including a recent yearlong investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle that found 3,336 U.S. pursuit deaths — nearly two a day — over the six years ending in 2022. The Chronicle’s report, entitled “Fast and Fatal,” explored chases that killed nearly 1,900 people and found that more than 1,550 of the deaths involved people suspected of traffic infractions, nonviolent crimes or no crime at all.

Albemarle County has a chase policy, but a county spokeswoman declined to say whether it was followed when police pursued Goldstein due to the pending criminal case. Spokeswoman Logan Bogert said that the key factors are the seriousness of the suspected crime and the risk to lives.

“After each pursuit, our department has an internal post-pursuit review to ensure all policies and procedures were adhered to,” she told The Daily Progress in an email.

Goldstein’s trial was slated to begin Feb. 26, but on that day Carlton, the defense attorney, and prosecutor Susan Baumgartner jointly submitted a postponement motion as they negotiate a plea deal. They say in their motion that they need to see whether Goldstein has any record of juvenile infractions. If they can’t hammer out a plea sooner, the matter is slated to go to trial beginning May 9.


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