Drunk blamed: For striking worker less than mile from memorial

news-vdotworkersmemorialoverlookThe monument was dedicated in 2004.

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.

news-accusedbasketballplayerVitalija Vasciunaite.

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.

Read more on: vdot workers


Hit & run maybe, but I doubt there will ever be a conviction for drunk driving. By the time she and her defense team get to court, she will claim she had a few drinks after getting home to calm her nerves.

Drunk driving, and careless driving. Know no color, or nationality.

Angel - You may be right about the scenario you describe above. Doesn't it make more sense to register currently-undocumented aliens, so that they can achieve some sort of a legal status that will enable them to have a driver's license and insurance? The current situation is a Catch-22.

Who says she receives a scholarship? Also, if she went to the MIller School, she obviously wasn't imported to play college sports.

By the way, when I posted the bit about her being a Miller School graduate, The Hook didn't have the "according to the University of Miami" paragraph in the article.

"I wonder what the reaction to her immigration status would be had she saved a child from some sought of disaster."

That's what I was wondering too!

Also--folks don't much about college sports, I guess. Promising international prospects are brought to local private schools to get visible, to get ready to take SATs, etc. Lithuania has sent other prospects to local private schools in the past, who then went on to be recruited by and given scholarships by American universities.

And why shouldn't a university give an athletic scholarship to anyone it wants to, instead of limiting scholarships to "our" (whatever that means) people? Athletic scholarships don't come out public monies; they are paid for by the fundraising foundations that each school sets up. Why shouldn't a school identify a good prospect from another country and recruit that student?

Yes, Hmmm, she was old enough to drink legally: 22.

So, you think it would good public policy to have 22 year olds or 25 year olds or 30 year olds drinking in cars to hide their "illegal" drinking? How old should the drinking age be?

You seem to offer the evidence that "some college presidents feel the same way" as a bolstering of your idea of raising the drinking age. Why should we agree with how college presidents feel? Are college presidents, on average, the best experts on alcohol policy?

a DUI in Gamehenge results in a visit to the ac/dc bag!

I remember this woman very well. She was a big deal when she was in high school. She's one of these people who came here to get college recognition by playing for Miller School. Miller School always has student/athletes from foreign countries who come here to play basketball. She was a big, big star here. I don't know if she is a US citizen, but I'm sure she's here legally. It's a sick situation, no matter where she's from, regardless of whether she plays college sports or not.

Was she old enough to be drinking legally?

Unfortunately, in some cases, people buy alcohol illegally and because they are not old enough to be legally drinking it, they sometimes hide by drinking it in their car. This is one reason why I think the drinking age should be RAISED. Some college presidents feel the same way.

"(after serving any sentence”Šof course the light sentences being handed out recently would make one think she will get off easy)."

Yes, dui sentences are appallingly short. If its true that this is her second offense, she's probably looking at plus or minus 90 for the drinking and driving part of her current problems. The 1 to 3 years I arrived at assumed a conviction for felony hit and run as well. Though since she's a "promising athlete", that may wind up being reduced to a failure to yield if the injured worker recovers. Maybe with a hefty suspended sentence, though those don't seem to deter future misbehavior as much as significant time in the joint.

Folks, this has nothing to do with the immigration debate. The fact that so many of you jump to that so quickly suggests that you suffer severely from the cognitive weakness of confirmation biasââ?¬â?that you’re so worked up about ââ?¬Å?illegals” you’ll fit ââ?¬Å?illegals” into just about any story.

But, since this is the game du jour, I’ll say this. This story can be a learning opportunity for us all to see the arbitrary nature of labels (next paragraph) or a call to rethink our transportation system (last paragraph).

So here goes. What would the comments be if Mr. Shifflet drunkenly crashed his 1979 F-150 late one evening into Mr. Morris, a highway worker who was repairing a lane on I-64. I’m betting that not one comment would bring up Mr. Shifflet’s (or Mr. Morris’s) immigration status. And this story is pretty much the same as the story we have here.

Now, instead of glossing the immigration debate onto this story, which I think is inappropriate, let me gloss a new vision of transportation for which I will certainly be excoriated. If we had more use of trains, mass transportation, bicycles, the study of Zen, or at the very least use smaller cars, we could reduce the repair burden of our nation’s freeways and we would reduce the chances Mr. Martinez and other workers being struck by vehicles because there would be fewer roads that needed to be fixed.

But wait, my new vision of transportation is way off-topic, right?

You're assuming she was driving her own car? You'd be wrong there. She's also not a C-ville resident...considering she's an international student.

The construction site might be properly lighted, but there aren't proper safeguards for the workers. That same worksite in other states would have a 1 mile buffer beforehand, jersey walls in place and a lower posted speed limit - particularly since the work is being done at night. There's no "proper" warning that men will be jackhammering within inches of oncoming traffic.
My guess is that the contractor submitted a low-ball bid that ignores worker safety in order to win a VDOT contract.

Sorry! My mistake! I meant to say: "This is one reason why I think the drinking age should be LOWERED. Some college presidents feel the same way."


oooo! HarryD! did you check out the pic of her in the Daily Progress? She really looked rough....poor thing.

I would like to have seen what direction this conversation would have gone if the driver had been the president of a major bank. Or perhaps a well known heart surgeon. Or maybe the police chief in Alexandria who abruptly ended his 40-year career with a DUI in 2009.

Face it folks, some of you have red hate running through your veins! Trust me, I know what I am talking about. I lived with red hate running through my veins too, from about 1984 to 1996. Just when I had gotten over it, I involuntarily had a transfusion of more red hate into my veins in 1997! While mine was a different sort of red hate, it's a terrible way to live out what little time you have on this earth.

She is legal to be here. However, the man she hit still has yet to produce a green card with a photo matching him on it.......

@strangerthings....wow, now that's ironic.....

GSOE - yep a red hate running through my veins for ANYONE who drinks and drives...it's a choice they make on their own free will and with complete disregard to the others around them. SOOOOOOO, wouldn't have mattered to me what they did for a living, they have no excuses.

Mr/Mrs/Miss whateva!, drinking and driving is NOT a crime. The majority of the alcohol consuming population drinks and drives at one time or another. It's only those who consume enough to put them over the legal limit that are actually breaking the law. At the time this girl hit this man, what was her blood alcohol content? Was she over the legal limit as defined in the State of Virginia? I think even the cop shoppe has an uphill battle to prove she was over the legal limit at the time of the crash.

@Gas, may not be a crime, BUT using any drug (and alcohol is classified as a drug) impairs the driver's ability. I think the hit and run will weigh in harder than any DUI....you know yourself, the cop shoppes will load the charges down hard to make sure something sticks.

Don't drive drunk.

..........and the comments stopped.

the internets say that she has a prior dui. If so, her future probably looks a lot like 1-3+ years in jail (assuming the worker recovers) and then a swift deportation?

Why does the United States need to import foreign nationals to play college sports? This woman took the scholarship money which would have gone to an American citizen.

Bullet to the back of the head

Very sad. With all the drunk and distracted drivers, this has come to be a job as dangerous as working in a war zone.

"Charlottesville resident" ?, after being a resident of "Who Shot Johnistan" before, I suppose?

The article doesn't say, but one can speculate as to the following:

1.) Immigration status
2.) Vehicle registration status (vehicle registered legally and insured legally, not by perjured affidavit regarding insurance status.
3.) driver's license status of driver.

Buy you a beer if all 3 are kosher. And people wonder why Arizona is so hateful as to pass legislation "persecuting" immigrants.

According to the Daily Progress (am I allowed to print that here :-) ) the (alleged) drunk driver was a Miller school graduate originally from Lithuania. Also, she was a she. I don't know if being a Miller School graduate means her immigration status is legal.

My best wishes to the highway worker and his family.

I think the drivers individual immigration status is separate from the incident that occurred. For me the focal point is that a drunken individual inappropriately operated a car and struck a highway worker who was doing his job. I find it ironic though that the highway worker was Hispanic. I pray for his recovery and welfare of his family. For me,immigration is not just an argument based on law--- the illegal immigrants break the law; therefore, they need to be returned to their country of origin. Rather, I see the immigration laws of the United Stated being based on a failed immigration policy that needs to be revised.

If you are in this area and your surname is not Shifflett or Morris this doesn't make you an illegal. I will be the first in line to encourage enforcement of present immigration laws but never shoot first and ask questions later.

Hope Mr Martinez recovers fully.

Maybe she was frightened because some creep in an unmarked cop car with "HASBEEN" on the plate was tailing her.

And this discussion looks like NBC29 level numbnuts commentary.

And why y'all picking on Shiffletts and Morrisses? Coulda been a Spradlin, Farish, Tapscott, Fewell, Hensley, Maupin, Moneymaker, Dudley, Gibson, or Roach. Who let all them in the country anyway?

Jail time for DUI's does not improve the situation for any of us if the person is let out on the road again without treatment for the disease they are probably suffering from - alcoholism . That said, it benefits the offender to be punished and not let off lightly for this; just hope her punishment includes treatment.

So maybe she should be glad she doesn't "reside" in other countries, ESPECIALLY El Salvador!:

The names of the drivers are sent to the local newspapers and are printed under the heading "He's Drunk and in Jail".
The Driver is jailed and if married, his wife is jailed too.
South Africa
A 10 year prison sentence and the equivalent of a $10,000.00 fine
Drunk drivers are taken 20 miles outside of town by police and are forced to walk back under escort
Three weeks in jail at hard labor, one year loss of license. Second offense within five years, license revoked for life.
Finland & Sweden
Automatic jail for one year of hard labor
Costa Rica
Police remove plates fron car
License revoked for life
One year suspension and a $250.00 fine and jail for one year
Three year loss of license, one year in jail and a $1000.00 fine
Jail, fine and forced to attend political lectures
A second conviction results in execution
El Salvador
Your first offense is your last---execution by firing squad

Well, if Whateva is right, I'd rather be caught DUI in El Salvador than Poland.

Whateva.....United States- "priceless"

No wonder she was drunk- she saw herself in the mirror and couldn't believe she slept with herself..........

She is training in the US so that the Lithuanian women can win a future gold Olympic medal. To get into college in the US required some prep education @ Miller school and only a passport & student visa. She will be prisoner-exchanged in the near future for a lucrative trade deal with the Lithuanian government. Do they have oil? She'll be portrayed as a well-educated hard-working student with a bright future who has worked with children in Lithuania, Miami & St. Francis. The pressure of being away from her friends and family in Lithuania drove her to alcohol which was served to her when she was a child in her homeland. Excuses, excuses, excuses !

So are you saying that she hit an illegal alien?

I drive through that area twice a week, at night. If the workers point the lights just a little off to one side, it effects driving. Those lights are blinding. I can only imagine trying to navigate with a few drinks under your belt.
I wonder what the reaction to her immigration status would be had she saved a child from some sought of disaster.

"and then a swift deportation?"

If it is true she had a prior DUI then, yes, get her the he|| out of our country. We already have too many drunks killing and maiming people. Even if she didn't have a prior DUI but is convicted of a DUI in this case, deport her @ss (after serving any sentence...of course the light sentences being handed out recently would make one think she will get off easy).

Where'd you get that bogus info w'eva?

I don't understand the immigration issue here, other than the possibility that the injured worker may be illegal and that would then be the fault of VDOT for allowing this to occur via a sub.

This country is becoming increasingly paranoid about illegal immigrants, and that type of hysteria can never be a good thing. My hope is that our officials will educate the public as to the importance of allowing citizens to work and live in our country legally, and then pass viable laws which are enforced, to make that possible. I believe the frustration comes from the term illegal, and the perception that our laws are not being enforced.

God in Heaven, I hope Whateva doesn't believe that information is factually accurate.

Way to go El Salvador! Bullet to the back of the head

@hoolarious & @Biff Diggerance...here's the link...believe what you want: http://webpages.charter.net/ricknet/duilaws.htm

oh sure, that webpage seems legit...note the police themed background, lack of citations, the page being authored in 1999 by some dude named Rick, and the fact that the host for the rest of "Rick's DUI Page" is down. But I'll believe anything i read on the internet. My stated fact, however, is 100% witnessed by me. Whilst visiting Gamehenge one midsummer's eve I watched as a gentleman was executed for mowing down 2 hapless lizards.

@ W'eva: Gosh I take it all back; I followed your link and clearly this site is a source of well-researched, authoritative information.


Wait, I forget our country is the one that votes for citizens with DUIs to be president right? and doesn't do anything when said president's daughters indulge in underage drinking and also get DUIs?