The chairman of a Virginia school board is calling for the district’s superintendent to resign, saying the schools chief minimized the severity of a car accident he caused last summer.
Steven L. Walts, superintendent of Prince William County Public Schools, was driving a car belonging to the school district when he made a left turn in Manassas about 10:25 a.m. Aug. 25, when it struck a moped, according to a police report filed with the Manassas police department. The moped rider was airlifted to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to Manassas police.
The wreck was previously reported by the Prince William Times.
School board chairman Ryan Sawyers called for Walts’s resignation Friday, claiming Walts misled the board.
“We were lied to about the severity of the accident,” Sawyers said.
Sawyers said in an email to Walts and the board that the characterization of the accident as “minor” was “false, both in terms of severity and in terms of injury.”
In an email last week to school district employees and the community, Walts said he “saw no need to distract the school community with details surrounding a personal traffic incident.”
“I felt terrible for the person who was hurt,” the superintendent wrote. “The weeks following the accident were difficult for me and my family. But this was a personal matter.”
Walts said he could not disclose further details about the accident “because of possible litigation and School Board policy.”
School district spokeswoman Diana Gulotta said the schools chief immediately reported the accident to police and school district officials. She also said the superintendent would not comment on the call for his resignation.
“Dr. Walts was deeply concerned about the condition of the other driver and inquired repeatedly about his condition,” Gulotta said.
Sawyers, who submitted a public records request to the school district for information related to the accident, said he was informed of the incident shortly after it happened by another school district employee who described it as a “minor” car accident.
An exchange with an acquaintance in December led Sawyers to believe the accident was more serious than he said was initially conveyed to him.
Walts was traveling north on Centreville Road as the moped traveled south on Centreville, according to the report. Walts’s vehicle struck the moped as Walts made a left turn onto Carriage Lane, the report stated.
Brandon Gladstone, an attorney representing the man who was on the moped, sent a letter to the Board of County Supervisors in September notifying the board of the man’s injury claims, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Sawyers.
The moped rider suffered injuries to his knees, legs, back and hips, and was in physical therapy for 2 1/2 months, Gladstone said in an interview.
Manassas police told Walts on Aug. 30 the driver of the moped “was okay, had a sore knee and no broken bones,” according to the school district.
The car driven by Walts, a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria, sustained $1,500 in damage, according to the police report. Walts did not have the right of way, the report stated. Court records show Walts was found guilty of failing to keep his vehicle under control and was issued a $100 fine.
On Friday, Sawyers wrote in an email to Walts and the school board that the superintendent failed to live up to the professional and ethical standards expected of district employees.
“You, sir, are no longer fit to serve as superintendent. Our community deserves better. I again ask that you tender your resignation immediately,” Sawyers said.
This story has been updated.