Delegate Freitas assists Hit and Run Victim - RTD

Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 1:24 pm

When a young woman was knocked onto the pavement of East Broad Street on Tuesday afternoon by a hit-and-run driver, Good Samaritans abounded.

A driver who witnessed the crash followed the car, a red Toyota Solara with no tags, and officers made an arrest. Jameshia Simmons, 22, of the 3800 block of Chamberlayne Avenue, is charged with hit-and-run driving and driving with a suspended license, police said.

Among the people who rushed to the woman’s side was Del. Nicholas J. Freitas, R-Culpeper, a freshman legislator who was across the street when the woman was struck.

“I saw the vehicle speed away. I tried to get the license plate,” said Freitas, a 36-year-old former Green Beret who served two tours in Iraq. “I went over and very quickly tried to see if there was any bleeding or exposed fractures ... just tried to make sure she was comfortable and she was warm. ... She was just incredibly brave and calm during the entire episode.”

Police did not identify the woman, though Howard Bender, a vice president at the nearby Virginia Opera, was at the scene and said she is one of his employees. She was conscious when paramedics put her into an ambulance and police said her injuries are considered not to be life-threatening.

Freitas wound up filing a police report of his own when the backpack he left on the other side of Broad Street as he rushed over to the scene disappeared.

He checked on it once but noticed it had vanished when he went back across the street to give a police officer his information. A passer-by told him he had seen a man in a dark suit walk off down Sixth Street with the bag, which contained his General Assembly-issued iPad, a personal cellphone, wallet, cash and credit card.

“No good deed, right?” Freitas quipped, before jogging off in his suit and cowboy boots in pursuit. He looked for a few blocks before giving up the chase.

Asked later what he would have done if he had found the thief, Freitas politely declined to speculate.

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