The week in review
Biggest rape-case aftershock: Chris Matthew, who was accused of a September 3 rape and spent five days in jail before DNA test results cleared him, files an $850,000 defamation lawsuit against his accuser, Liesel Nowak reports in the Daily Progress.
Biggest prosecutorial blast: Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman decries Matthew's suit in response to what he calls a "tragic mistake" and says it will have a chilling effect on the willingness of women to report sexual assaults.
Best saves: DNA results clear two Virginia men wrongly convicted of rape– even though they'd served their sentences– thanks to the late Mary Jane Burton, a forensic scientist who saved pieces of the evidence she handled. A review of that material has so far cleared five people.
Least productive attempted jailbreak: Thomas Clayton Dudley adds 22 years to his time in jail for the August 2004 escape attempt from the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail in which two correctional officers suffered violent assaults.
Biggest bust: The Louisa County Sheriff's Office indicts 25 people on 68 charges and spends December 13 rounding them up.
Biggest election: Iraqis go to the polls December 15.
Worst ice storm: December 15 precipitation downs trees and power lines and leaves nearly 30,000 around Charlottesville without power.
Worst words to hear when stuck in a traffic jam: "Cut off your engine; it's going to be a while" was the advice police gave morning drivers backed up by a 10-car accident on southbound lanes of U.S. 29 in northern Albemarle County December 16 following the ice storm, WINA reports.
Worst loss for local bluegrass: Nelson County resident Ray Spears, 67, who hosted a bluegrass show on WTJU, organized bluegrass shows on public access TV, and was former president of the Piedmont Virginia Fiddle and Banjo Association, dies December 11, Bryan McKenzie reports in the Progress.
Worst self-immolation: Gerald Steel, 66, sets his Isuzu Trooper ablaze while sitting in it in downtown Staunton December 14. Police find incendiary devices and fire accelerants inside, according to a DP report.
Lamer than the Continental Tire Bowl: The 6-5 Cavaliers head to the Music City Bowl in Nashville December 30 to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Least surprising incident in which police utter the phrase "alcohol was involved": Charges are pending against Peter Waldron for allegedly breaking a window at O'Neill's Irish Pub December 13, fleeing, and falling into a crevice near the railroad tracks, taking with him the female employee who followed him out. Waldron is rescued by emergency personnel and then charged with destruction of property.
No, wait, this is the least surprising: Early December 13, Jodie Ellen Finney crashes into a state trooper's cruiser parked on Fifth Street Extended, hits a suspect's car that is being towed, and flies up the tow truck ramp and over its cab, landing upright in front of the truck, according to a Rob Graham report on WINA. Finney is charged with driving under the influence.
Best local-girl-gets-naked story: UVA's Amanda Paige/Playboy's Miss October is a candidate for Playmate of the Year. Cavalier fans can vote on playboy.com.