Another arrest: Dem vice-chair charged with DUI
It's been a bad two weeks for Albemarle Democrats. On October 18, Supervisor Christopher Dumler was arrested for forcible sodomy. And on October 28, Cynthia Neff, the party's vice chair– and the woman who put up her house as collateral to post a $50,000 bond for Dumler– was arrested for driving under the influence.
Neff had almost reached her home in the northern part of Albemarle County near U.S. 29. This resident of the 3700 block of Pritchett Lane was pulled over early Sunday morning in the 3600 block. With a fanciful decoration around one eye, the 61-year-old appears to have been celebrating Halloween a few days early.
According to a release, an Albemarle police officer observed her drive erratically on U.S. 29 and followed. When he noticed an odor of alcohol, Neff was given and allegedly failed a field sobriety test. She was arrested and later released from Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail on her own recognizance, according to court documents, which list James A. Herring as the arresting officer.
Police have declined to release Neff's blood alcohol level.
Since retiring to Albemarle, the former IBM executive has been active in the community– including serving as president of the board of ASG, the local AIDS/HIV services group. However, the public may best know her from her political efforts which, most recently, include helping launch a political action committee, called Women’s Strike Force, to fight a "legislative assault on women" after this year's controversial law mandating pre-abortion medical testing.
In 2009, Neff challenged Delegate Rob Bell for the 58th District seat to the General Assembly but garnered only 33 percent of the vote. In 2011, she tried again for office by challenging Ken Boyd for the Rivanna seat on the Board of Supervisors, yet mustered only 43 percent of ballots cast in the race. It was that same election when then 26-year-old Dumler won the Scottsville seat on the Board of Supervisors.
In recent years, Virginia legislators have increased the penalties for driving while intoxicated. This year, all members of the local delegation to the General Assembly voted for the latest: a requirement that even first-time offenders install an ignition interlock to get a restricted license and operate a vehicle.
Neff did not return phone calls from the Hook. Nor did Albemarle Democratic chair Valerie L'Herrou. Neff is scheduled to be in court November 5.