The McMissile case: Driver gets felony conviction for tossing cup of ice into car
To the locals, it's the "McMissile" case.
And like the name, the details of it spill forth like a bad joke: A woman is driving north on Interstate 95. Three kids squirm in the back seat, and her sister, six months pregnant and having early contractions, sits in the front. The stress starts to simmer. Traffic slows, then crawls, then creeps. More stress. A car cuts in front of her, then scoots away. A short time later, it darts in again. She can no longer take it. She veers onto the shoulder and speeds up. Wham! She tosses a large McDonald's cup filled with ice into the other car.
"From my side, I heard a whoomp," recalled the woman's sister, LaJeanna Porter, 27. "I was like, 'I know you didn't throw that cup.' She said, 'Yes I did.' "
Neither woman foresaw the seemingly supersize repercussions of that misguided moment July 2.
No one was injured, but the cup launcher, Jessica Hall, 25, of Jacksonville, N.C., was charged and convicted by a Stafford County jury of maliciously throwing a missile into an occupied vehicle, a felony in Virginia. The instructions given to the jury said that "any physical object can be considered a missile. A missile can be propelled by any force, including throwing."
Hall, a mother of three young children whose husband is serving his third tour in Iraq, has spent more than a month in jail.
The jury sentenced her to two years in prison, the minimum, and a judge will formally impose a sentence Wednesday. Under state law, the judge can only decrease the jury's sentence.
"We didn't think it would go this far," Hall said in an interview at the Rappahannock Regional Jail. "Two years! What did I do?"
You recklessly endangered the lives of other people, that is what you did. Luckily, no one was injured.