Centreville resident Mathew M. Roman, 30 — a former Fairfax County police officer — pleaded guilty last week in Washington, D.C. Superior Court to aggravated assault stemming from a hit-and-run in summer 2000.
He'd been with the Fairfax police force for less than a year when the incident occurred and tendered his resignation shortly after being charged with hit-and-run. Police believed alcohol was a factor in the accident.
According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Roman struck a 21-year-old pedestrian in Georgetown with his car, Aug. 4, 2000, and then left the scene. The victim, Janet Kurland of Sharon, Conn., was rushed by ambulance to Georgetown University Medical Center, where she was admitted in critical condition. Later upgraded to serious, she was eventually released.
Police said the woman was crossing the street in the 2200 block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., around 12:30 a.m., when the incident occurred. They later identified Roman as the driver of the southbound Volkswagen Jetta that struck her. They said he "reportedly walked away from the scene of the accident, allegedly to summon police."
About an hour later, Georgetown University Campus Police notified the Metropolitan Police Department that a man claiming to have been involved in a motor-vehicle accident was on the campus. D.C. police then conducted field-sobriety tests on Roman and allegedly determined that he was intoxicated.
Police arrested him and charged him with two misdemeanors — driving while intoxicated (DWI) and leaving after colliding. But the Metropolitan Police Department's Major Crash Investigations Unit continued to look into the matter.
Then on Sept. 27, 2000, a D.C. Superior Court grand jury indicted Roman on felony charges of aggravated assault while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon. He was also charged with leaving the scene of a collision and driving while intoxicated.
Fairfax County police hired him in September 1999, and he attended the police academy until spring 2000. Assigned to the Mount Vernon District Station, he then rode with another patrol officer there for 10 weeks while doing his field training, before being allowed to operate on his own.
Roman appeared last Thursday, Feb. 14, in D.C. Superior Court, and the DWI charge against him was dismissed. But he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and could receive as much as 10 years in prison. According to spokesman Channing Phillips with the U.S. Attorney's office in D.C., "All other charges [against Roman] — pursuant to the plea agreement — will be dismissed at the time of his sentencing." Roman is scheduled to be sentenced on April 26.