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The Cop Car Mystery on Starwood Lane



Some residents along Hunting Ridge Road were baffled by the seemingly constant presence of a Virginia State Police car heading up and down one particular driveway.

After all, their neighborhood near the venerable Hermitage Country Club in Goochland County is lush and hushed — not exactly known as a high-crime area.

But recent media attention surrounding investigations of the governor has raised all kinds of questions about the man at the end of the driveway: Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

The embattled chief executive of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific is connected with two investigations of Gov. Bob McDonnell involving gifts and loans.

Williams' property at 1 Starwood Lane near the end of Hunting Ridge Road is accessed by a winding driveway lined with street lights. The $2.2 million estate has a six-bedroom house, baseball diamond, swimming pool and tennis court.

"I've been here four years and I didn't see the police cars for the first year," says Les Bellsha, who lives at 23 Hunting Ridge Road. "Then they were here constantly. Sometimes they would stay all night."

A police car seemed to come and go at odd hours, some neighbors say. At times, a car was parked on the road outside Williams' property.

Was it state-provided security?

No, says Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the state police.

"A trooper was residing in a one-bedroom, studio apartment at that residence," Geller writes in an email response to Style. "The apartment was located in a separate out-building on the Williams property. The trooper is no longer residing there. The apartment served as his personal residence and his being there had no connection to his capacity as a state employee."

The trooper was attached to routine patrol duties in the Hanover and Henrico County areas, Geller says. She says she doesn't know whether the police officer paid rent to Williams because it was a personal matter.

Several months ago, the police vehicle vanished, neighbors say. Bellsha suspects it had to do with revelations of Williams' gifts to McDonnell and his family members. "I figured it had something to do with the disclosures," he says.

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