- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2007

STAFFORD, Va. (AP) — A mother of three who threw a cup of ice into a car that cut her off on Interstate 95 was spared a two-year prison term yesterday.

Jessica Hall, 25, of Jacksonville, N.C., instead was sentenced to probation for the offense — dubbed the “McMissile” case because she threw a McDonald’s cup filled with ice.

A jury last month found her guilty of maliciously throwing a missile into an occupied vehicle, a felony in Virginia with a minimum sentence of two years in prison.

“The facts of this case … suggest that the sentence in this case should be reduced,” Stafford Circuit Judge Frank A. Hoss Jr. told Hall, who thanked the judge and cried.

Hall, who has been in Rappahannock Regional Jail since Jan. 4, also will have to pay fines and court costs related to three other charges, including reckless driving and assault.

As a condition of her sentencing, she must remain on good behavior for five years. Although Hall was ordered free on charges in Virginia, she remained jailed without bail on an outstanding warrant in Desoto County, Miss., for writing bad checks. Mississippi authorities said yesterday afternoon that they would drop the charge if her family pays the less than $1,000 owed on the checks.

Hall’s family has agreed to pay the amount, and she is expected to be released today.

Hall’s husband is serving his third tour in Iraq.

Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel M. Chichester said Hall’s actions were serious, even though no one was injured.

“It is important to remember that it is not what is thrown but the danger created by that act,” Mr. Chichester said. He cited a similar case in Stafford about six years ago in which three teenagers were killed when an egg was thrown at a car.

“There was no peril,” said defense attorney Terrence Patton. “There was no danger.”

On a sticky day in July, Hall was driving north on Interstate 95 with her children and her sister. Traffic had slowed to a crawl when, she said, another car cut her off twice. Angered, she flung the cup into the other car, where it flew across the driver and landed all over his girlfriend.

The driver of the other car, Pete Ballin, 36, and his girlfriend, Eliza Fowle, 28, were heading home to the District after visiting her father in North Carolina.

Hall, who was driving from North Carolina to New York for a family party, said she was trying to keep up with her father’s truck when Mr. Ballin cut in front of her the second time, causing her to swerve onto the shoulder.

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