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W.Va. doctors pleads in DUI case

October 18, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An Inwood, W.Va., doctor charged with operating a backhoe while intoxicated and hitting a deputy who arrested him has entered a plea that includes providing physical examinations to Berkeley County students at no expense, magistrate court records show.

John C. Veltman on Thursday entered no contest pleas to DUI and battery on an officer, and charges of obstructing an officer and refusing to be fingerprinted were dismissed.

For the DUI plea, Veltman was sentenced to serve 24 hours in Eastern Regional Jail beginning at 5 p.m., Oct. 22, but he was credited with time already served when he was arrested May 14.

A 30-day jail sentence imposed for the battery charge was suspended and the doctor was placed on one year of unsupervised probation, records show.

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In addition to $185 in court costs, a special assessment amounting to $60 was imposed, and Veltman's attorney B. Craig Manford said his client volunteered to provide physical examinations for one week in June 2007 to Berkeley County students. The examinations at City Hospital will be supervised by another doctor, records show.

In June, Veltman entered a not guilty plea to the charges and Manford filed a discovery motion, asking the prosecutor's office to share the state's evidence against his client.

Witnesses told deputies that Veltman, then 52, drove the backhoe through a fence that separates a gas main, backed up and hit a building, then ran into a garage door before driving through another yard and into a tree. Veltman apparently arranged to have the tree - a flowering cherry - replaced at a cost of $600, court record show.

According to court records, Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy S.D. Myers found Veltman sitting on the backhoe with his head down.

Veltman failed two field sobriety tests and, at the sheriff's department, he would not properly blow into a machine that determines blood alcohol content, Myers said.

While he was being processed, court records indicate Veltman told Myers "I am a (expletive) medical doctor and you are below me."

Myers said Veltman hit him on the shoulder and the doctor had to be restrained and carried to a police cruiser so he could be taken to Eastern Regional Jail, court records show.

Veltman did not return a message left at his home regarding his decision to enter a plea.

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