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VMI Cadet Dies

  • Written by Staff Writer


The body of a Virginia Military Institute cadet was found in the vicinity of Goshen Pass Tuesday evening.


Rockbridge County sheriff's deputies found the body of Eric B. Alter, 22, of Centreville. Local law enforcement officials had been searching for Alter when the discovery was made.


The VMI Corps of Cadets was informed of Alter’s death early Tuesday evening. Counseling and pastoral care is available to cadets, faculty, and staff. “Our thoughts go out to his family. He was an outstanding cadet,” said Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, superintendent.


Alter was an English major, was director of operations for the lacrosse team, and was commander of the Corps’ 2nd Battalion. He was set to graduate in May and to commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.


He is survived by his parents, Bruce and Beth Alter of Centreville, and his sister, Betsy. Funeral arrangements are pending.


Hazmat Exercise Planned In County

  • Written by submitted

 There will be a large number of emergency vehicles in the vicinity of Old Buena Vista Road and Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital this Wednesday and Thursday.

But, said Rockbridge County emergency management coordinator Robert Foresman, area residents should not be alarmed.

It’s all a part of a Rockbridge County hazmat (hazardous materials) exercise will be held each day from noon to 7 p.m. at McKethan Park, the Virginia Military Institute property located off Old Buena Vista Road.

Participants will include representatives of a wide range of local, state and federal agencies.  During the event, a variety of Hazmat scenarios will be played out in a farmhouse on the property and outdoors, with each agency having a specific role. There will be no hazards to public safety or chemicals used during the exercise.

The exercise is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Charges Advance In Infant Death Case

  • Written by Roberta Anderson

 Felony child abuse charges resulting in the death of 7-month-old Jake Slagle were certified to the grand jury Monday against the infant’s father, mother and grandmother in Rockbridge County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

William Daniel Slagle, 33, Heather Deann Ruley, 24, and Patricia Tyree Ruley, 57, also each had charges felony child neglect and abuse relating to their alleged lack of care of the three other children living in their home certified by Judge Anita Filson following a nearly five-hour preliminary hearing.

The infant died on Aug. 31, 2013.   Sheriff’s deputies and emergency responders were called to the home of the three defendants at 64 Rosemary Lane off of Beatty Hollow Road in Lexington for an infant who was not responsive and not breathing.   The infant was taken to Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The cause of death of the infant was determined by the Roanoke medical examiner’s office to be sudden unexpected infant death syndrome associated with an unsafe sleep environment. 

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kelly Cotting called multiple witnesses to establish the living conditions in the home where Jake died as well as to present evidence that all four children there had not received medical care recommended for infants and children.  Witnesses from the Department of Social Services also testified there had been previous incidents involving their agency with the children’s caregivers.

The three defendants had also originally been charged with involuntary manslaughter.  These charges are now classified as "nolle prosequi" meaning the charges are not being prosecuted.

For more on this story, see this week’s issue of The News-Gazette.




Lane Closures Planned On I-81

  • Written by submitted

More lane closures have been scheduled on the Interstate 81 truck climbing lane project in Rockbridge County.

All northbound lanes of Interstate 81 will be closed for nighttime bridge work at mile marker 199 to 201 on Friday, April 25, from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday. 

All northbound traffic will be detoured off the interstate at the off-ramp of exit 200 (Fairfield area) and back onto I-81 via the on-ramp at exit 200.

Also scheduled are right and center lane closures between mile markers 195 and 201 northbound on Monday, April 21 through the morning of Friday, April 25. These nightly closures run from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.


All work is weather permitting.

Columbia Gas To Replace Odorization Equipment

  • Written by submitted

Beginning on Monday, April 21, Columbia Gas of Virginia will start the process of replacing the odorization injection equipment and storage tank at our facilities along Valley Pike.


The process requires several days of work and will include a specialized environmental team on site in case the construction activity uncovers residual odorant in the construction site from last year’s odorant spill. Also, they will be equipped to immediately address any release of odorant during the disconnection of existing piping and the removal of the old storage tank.


The odorization equipment is used to inject the non-toxic odorant called “Mercaptan” which gives natural gas the rotten eggs odor as part of Columbia Gas of Virginia’s commitment to public safety. Columbia Gas of Virginia has communicated with the emergency responders in Lexington and Rockbridge County about the pending work.


            Should you ever smell a strong odor similar to “Rotten Eggs,” Columbia Gas of Virginia recommends you take the following actions:


·        Immediately leave the area

·        From a safe location away from the odor, call 911 and Columbia Gas of Virginia at 800.544.5606.

·        Warn others to stay away from the area

·        Leave windows and doors in their current position

·        Avoid open flames or anything that could spark ignition - including cell phones, lights, garage doors or other power equipment.

·        Do not attempt to operate pipeline valve or try to correct the leak.

·        When emergency personnel arrive explain the situation to them.