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Federal Fugitive Arrested on Robbery and Firearm Charges

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A fugitive who fled the scene of a fatal car crash that killed a 78 year-old woman on Wednesday afternoon made his initial appearance in federal court today on robbery and gun charges.

Darrell Pittman, 29, of Newport News, was arrested in Chesapeake early Saturday following his escape from the fatal car crash. Pittman, who was a passenger in the Ford Explorer that struck the vehicle of the woman who was killed, fled the scene before he could be apprehended by police on outstanding warrants.

According to allegations in the indictment that was unsealed today, Pittman approached a Papa John’s employee on or about July 25, 2018, in Newport News and allegedly took money, pizza, and property from the employee through the threat of force and violence, brandishing a firearm at the employee and demanding the employee’s money and property during the course of the robbery.

Pittman is charged with interference with commerce by robbery, and with brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. If convicted of the brandishing charge, he faces a mandatory minimum consecutive term of 7 years in prison. If convicted on both counts, Pittman faces a maximum penalty of 27 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Pittman is scheduled for a detention hearing Thursday at the federal courthouse in Newport News.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of a renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Robert Mathieson, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia, Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy E. Cross and Chad McHenry are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:19-cr-4.

A(n) indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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