Drunk blamed: For striking worker less than mile from memorial
Less than a mile from the granite marker dedicated to the memory of fallen highway workers, a Virginia Department of Transportation employee has been struck and gravely injured by what police are calling a drunk driving hit-and-run.
It happened at 4:05am July 17, when Jose Porfirio Martinez, 50, of Reston, was operating a jackhammer inside a work zone at mile post 103 in a closed-off eastbound lane of I-64 on Afton Mountain.
Moments earlier, police had taken a report of an erratic driver in a car in that vicinity consistent with the description of the 1999 Buick sedan that struck Martinez, according to a State Police release. The driver of the Buick fled the scene, but a State Trooper located the suspect vehicle at the home of 22-year-old Charlottesville resident Vitalija Vasciunaite and took her into custody.
Vasciunaite, whom a reporter was unable to immediately reach for comment, has been charged with DUI and felony hit-and-run.
According to the University of Miami athletic website, Vasciunaite is a Lithuanian native who attended the Miller School near Batesville and went on to play for the Miami Hurricanes. She appears to have transferred to St. Francis College in New York, where her basketball career would have continued with the 2010-11 season.
The State Police assert that the VDOT work zone was appropriately lighted, that drivers were properly warned of its existence with signs, and that the victim, Martinez, was wearing his reflective safety vest. Martinez was transported by ambulance to UVA Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening injuries.