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Fluvanna Sheriff's Office Investigating Disappearance Of Janet Field

  • Written by Darryl Woodson

Janet Field

 

The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the disappearance of a Scottsville woman who is originally from Lexington.

Janet Renee Field, age 49, of Hickory Hill Road in Scottsville, was last seen on July 2 by her husband at their dwelling, according to the sheriff’s department’s Web site.

Field's car was located July 4 at the Zion's Crossroads Park & Ride. The car is a 2010 burgundy Subaru Forrester, with Virginia registration WNP259.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fluvanna County Sheriff's Office at (434) 589-8211.

 

City Matches Downtown Facade Grant

  • Written by Roberta Anderson

Lexington City Council Thursday night appropriated an additional $10,000 to the city façade grant program as a match to the $10,000 that was recently contributed by Historic Lexington Foundation.

A letter to Council from HLF director Donald Hasfurther reported that the most recent $2,000 grant from the joint city/HLF fund has been awarded to First Baptist Church for the repainting of the steeple.

Other downtown renovations completed with matching grants from the fund to the owners have been the exterior painting of the Books & Co. building and extensive exterior work on the Campbell House belonging to the Rockbridge Historical Society.

In making his recommendation for the city to continue to contribute to the façade repair program, City Manager Jon Ellestad noted that a total of $16,500 in funds have been contributed to downtown repairs.

Judge Hears Motions In Hansel Case

  • Written by Kit Huffman

Several pre-trial motions were heard Wednesday morning in Rockbridge Circuit Court for the upcoming Aug. 25 trial of Nicholas Perry Hansel.

The former Washington and Lee student has been charged with a number of offenses, with the most serious being aggravated involuntary manslaughter. He’s also charged with two maiming offenses.

In the early hours of Dec. 3 last year, Hansel was driving an SUV back to Lexington containing 10 other W&L students after attending an off-campus party. The SUV overturned on Turkey Hill Road. Three students were hospitalized and Kelsey H. Durkin died of injuries sustained in the crash.

Hansel, who was released from jail on bond, was present in Judge Michael Irvine’s court Wednesday, along with three defense lawyers. Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert “Bucky” Joyce is prosecuting the case.

In one of the motions, Joyce requested that the jury, once selected, be transported to the scene of the accident in order to see for themselves the grade and topography of Turkey Hill Road, where the accident took place.

Judge Irvine ruled that he would take the transportation request under advisement, but he advised Joyce to have potential travel arrangements in place during the time of the trial.

A defense lawyer then made several motions, the first being for a change of venue for the trial. He said he was “concerned about the very substantial amount of publicity” the case has received, as well as the “broad issues about alcohol.” There had also been coverage regarding the W&L president, who had made a number of communications to the community, the lawyer said. He also cited a prior accident “alleged to be a similar event, as though there’s an ongoing problem.” He said the reporting may be accurate but that it’s by nature inflammatory.

But Joyce countered that “we’re in a fast-paced world and the collective memory is short,” and that he had “good confidence that we can seat a suitable jury.”

Judge Irvine said he must try to seat a jury (locally) but that he would take the motion under advisement. He also granted leave to the defense team to file any additional support for their motion.

The defense also moved for the chance to interview jury members individually in a sequestered setting in order to find how they felt about such issues as drinking and driving, young people and other “deeply personal issues, especially alcohol and substance abuse.” Joyce said other options are possible, such as interviewing smaller panels of jury members. Judge Irvine said he would take the defense motion under advisement, but that he anticipated a voir dire of the entire panel, though the smaller-panel option could be used, with panels of three or five, based on the proposed questions from the defense. He asked that the proposed voir dire be submitted seven days prior to the jury selection.

“I want both sides to get a fair trial,” Irvine declared.

Irvine denied a defense motion to submit a draft questionnaire to jurors to “streamline the process.” He said the court would conduct a very thorough voir dire to screen out people who know about the case, have preconceived biases or have connections to either side of the case. He felt the questionnaire would not be helpful and could be cumbersome and invasive.

The last motion filed by the defense concerned the showing of “prejudicial nature of the autopsy photographs.” Joyce confirmed that there are 55 autopsy photographs, “some of which are not attractive,” and that he had not thought to introduce them. However, if any became “probative as to the severity of the crash or the location of the person in the SUV,” then he might show these.

“The commonwealth is allowed to show the mechanism of death,” he ruled, though 55 photos would be too many to show. However, if photos are necessary to show the mechanism of death, then that would be done, he said. He did caution that there would be “no redundancy” in the showing of the photos.

Bridge Named For Trooper Hines Dedicated

  • Written by Darryl Woodson

Virginia legislators, state and local law enforcement, the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Department of Transportation, family and friends gathered Monday, July 14, 2014, in Lexington to dedicate a portion of Interstate 81 in memory of slain Virginia State Police Master Trooper Jerry L. Hines. During the 2014 General Assembly session, Sen. Creigh Deeds and Del. Ben Cline sponsored legislation to designate the I-81 bridge over the Maury River in Rockbridge County - the Master Trooper Jerry L. Hines Memorial Bridge.

Hines, 48, was shot and killed at approximately 11:55 p.m. on Feb. 20, 1989, during the course of a traffic stop in the southbound lanes of I-81 near the I-64 interchange in Rockbridge County. Hines’ line-of-duty death occurred during an eight-hour rampage that started in Shenandoah County when Dennis W. Eaton, 32, of Mount Jackson, Va., killed a neighbor and a male friend of Eaton’s girlfriend. Following those shootings, Eaton stole his neighbor’s car and was traveling along I-81 when Hines initiated the traffic stop. After shooting Hines, Eaton and his girlfriend fled the scene. They were later spotted by a Salem police officer. A high-speed pursuit ensued and ended when Eaton crashed into a series of utility poles. Immediately following the crash, Eaton shot and killed his girlfriend, exchanged gunfire with the Salem police officers, and then wounded himself. Eaton was finally taken into custody.Hines-DedicationHines Bridge dedication Hines FamilyHines Memorial Bridge dedication CreighHines Bridge dedication unveiling

Candidates File In Lexington, Glasgow

  • Written by Ed Smith

Lexington and Glasgow will have contested races in their local elections this fall. Four candidates are vying for three Lexington City Council seats, and five are contending for three seats on Glasgow Town Council.

In Lexington, incumbent Council members Mary Harvey-Halseth and Chuck Smith will be joined on the ballot by Patrick Rhamey and David Sigler. All four have qualified for inclusion on the Nov. 4 ballot. A third incumbent whose term expires this year, George Pryde, is not running for re-election.

Glasgow Town Council members Roger Funkhouser, Michael Turner and James “Sonny” Williams have filed to run for re-election. Challenging these Glasgow incumbents are R. Guy Kindle and Thomas “Tom” McClanahan.

Goshen Mayor Justin Thompson is unopposed in his bid for re-election. Appointed incumbent members Chris Robertson and Shirley Rorer have filed to hold onto their slots on Goshen Town Council. A third seat will be filled by a write-in candidate because no one else filed by the June 10 deadline.

There will also be two special elections locally on Nov. 4 – one in Buena Vista and one in Glasgow. The one in Buena Vista will be to fill the City Council seat formerly held by Lewis Plogger, who resigned in April. Tim Petrie was appointed to fill Plogger's seat until the special election. The special election in Glasgow is to fill a vacancy created by the recent resignation of John Hill. The deadline to file a candidacy in these special elections is Aug. 15 at 5 p.m.