Attempted Murder Count Dropped
City Woman Still Facing Charge Of Eluding Cops
HARRISONBURG — A Harrisonburg woman who police say intentionally tried to run over an officer during a June incident is no longer facing an attempted murder charge.
On Thursday, prosecutors dropped the most serious count, attempted capital murder of a police officer, against Suzanne Jennifer Terschueren.
But Terschueren, 47, still faces a charge of felony eluding in the case and it’s possible the attempted murder count could be brought back through a grand jury indictment.
During a hearing in Rockingham County General District Court, prosecutors played a video from a police cruiser’s dash.
“By the looks of the video, it looks like [the officer] jumped out in front of the car,” Judge Richard Claybrook noted.
Terschueren waived her right to a preliminary hearing on the felony eluding charge. All other charges were dropped, including misdemeanor stalking, misdemeanor driving under the influence and misdemeanor refusal of a breath test.
Prosecutors plan to present that case to a grand jury on Aug. 18. They could also present the dropped charges at that time.
According to Harrisonburg police, officers were called to the 700 block of Hillmont Circle about 7:15 p.m. on June 24 for a report of a suspicious person in a vehicle.
Terschueren was accused of stalking someone at that address.
Officers spoke with the car’s driver when they arrived at the scene and one reported that it was apparent that she had been drinking alcohol.
During the video played in court, the officer can be heard multiple times asking the car’s driver, identified by police as Terschueren, to perform field sobriety tests.
“If you’re sober, you can go home,” the officer stated in the video.
The defendant refused to take the tests.
“I’m going home,” she’s heard saying. “I’m sad and I’m going home.”
Police say Terschueren then drove away and struck a James Madison University police officer with her vehicle. The officer was uninjured.
Police chased the vehicle on Port Republic and Stone Spring roads in Rockingham County, about a mile and half away from Hillmont Circle.
Once stopped, police said, Terschueren was taken into custody without incident.
Following Thursday’s proceedings, her attorney, John Hart, asked Claybrook to grant bond.
Hart did admit that she has some pitfalls that she must overcome.
“My client recognizes she has an alcohol problem,” said Hart, adding that she will not drive if released on bond.
He also noted she had one child going into her senior year of high school and one child who died in a house fire in 2005. The fire claimed the life of Terschueren’s 7-year-old son, Noah.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Chad Logan asked Claybrook to deny bond, stating that her alcohol problem poses a threat to the community.
He also noted that a coffee cup with wine was found inside her vehicle.
Claybrook sided with Logan; Terschueren remains in custody at Rockingham County Jail, where she is being held without bond.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org