Charles Love, charged wwith "playing in the highway" by police last month as he steered his motorized wheelchair along busy Rte. 1 in southern Fairfax County, was convicted yesterday in Fairfax traffic court.
Judge Thomas J. Rothrock delayed sentencing for six months and said the charge would be dismissed if Love, crippled in an accident 15 years ago, stayed off the streets until then. Rothrock also suggested that Love look into community groups who could offer him rides.
Love, 35, who was charged $45 by the wheelchair van service that took him to court yesterday, called the decision "being under house arrest." His attorney, Ben Dimuro, said the conviction will be appealed to Fairfax Circuit Court.
Prosecutor Chandra Myers said the county sought to protect both the public and Love from injury and produced witnesses who testified that an 18-wheel truck once had to swerve to avoid striking Love.
Love argued in an interview earlier this month that there are no sidewalks near his home and that he has to use the streets to run errands.
Dimuro contended that the statute under which Love was charged does not apply since Love is, in effect, a pedestrian and, "Pedestrians are allowed to travel in the street if there are no sidewalks." A court date has not been set.