Admitting that she stole narcotic painkillers from the hospital where she once worked as an operating room nurse, a Max Meadows woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to 15 felony charges.
As part of a plea agreement, 42-year-old Andrea Rebecca Crigger will be on probation for a year and some of her charges will be dismissed and others reduced to misdemeanors if she follows all the court’s requirements.
Arrested last February while working as a registered nurse at Wythe County Community Hospital, Crigger confessed to taking fentanyl and morphine from the hospital from September 2017 until her arrest.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Jones said no medication was taken from individual patients.
Crigger, who has a master’s degree in nursing and unsuccessfully tried last March to be licensed as a nurse practitioner, was fired on the day of her arrest. She also lost her teaching job at New River Community College, according to public records.
Crigger said she stole the drugs because of “stress and pain,” Jones said.
Public information attached to her state nursing license sheds additional light on her reasoning.
According to those documents, Crigger said she believed that her bipolar disorder contributed to the thefts. She also said that she suffered from headaches for six months and had taken fentanyl for the pain.
“Ms. Crigger stated that during the time she was diverting narcotics, believed that she was in a hyper-manic phase,” according to public documents. “She stated that she was working two jobs, and training for a bodybuilding competition.”
Crigger has taken part in bodybuilding, fitness and beauty pageants.
In 2015, she was named Mrs. Virginia United States and, in that role, made local appearances, including one at Bland County schools to talk to students about bullying.
The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors honored her with a resolution in 2016 after she won the fitness award and was named Mrs. Earth USA.
While on probation, Crigger will have to remain drug and alcohol-free and complete any recommended treatment. She also has to perform 100 hours of community service.
Crigger has already finished a 12-week outpatient program and sees a psychiatrist and counselor, according to state records. She also attends Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.
State records show that Crigger got her Virginia RN license on June 17, 2004.
She can still work as a nurse as long as she follows all of the requirements spelled out in a Health Practioners’ Monitoring Program, which she entered on June 18, 2018.
“Once Ms. Crigger obtains a position, the HPMP will have to approve that position and Ms. Crigger’s drug screens will increase. She is currently scheduled to test approximately 30 times a year.”
Since Crigger had no prior criminal record, she was placed in a first-offender program for her criminal charges of drug possession and obtaining drugs by fraud.
If she’s successful on probation, the possession charges will be dismissed and the fraud charges will be reduced to misdemeanors after a year.
Crigger’s driver’s license was also suspended for 90 months, but she was given a restricted license that allows her to travel to work and health appointments.
She also has to pay court costs.
Jeffrey Simmons can be reached at 228-6611, extension 19, or email@example.com.