Charlottesville Breaking News

Wrong on red? Cameras successful, says report; worries remain

According to a recent County police report, the controversial red-light cameras at the intersection of Route 29 and Rio Road are a success. Crashes at the approaches where the cameras are located are down, and the County hauled in nearly $100,000 in ticket revenue last year that will be used for safe-driving initiatives, such as DUI goggles for driver impairment education and training manuals for teen driver education.

"If you do a month-to-month comparison, there is a significant reduction in citations issued during January 2011 compared to January 2012, which would lead us to believe that driving habits are changing," says County police Sergeant Darrell Byers. "So the goal of reducing red light crashes combined with a change in driving habits makes the program a success."

The report showed that crashes due to red light running (at the two approaches with cameras only) fell from 6 in 2010 to just one in 2011. The number of rear-end crashes, which research has shown typically increase when cameras are present, actually dropped at the two approaches to the Rio/29 intersection; from 17 in 2010 to 10 in 2011.

However, Byers admits that looking at "more comparative data from this coming year" is needed to find out if the cameras are really making the intersection safer. Some say safety isn't the goal.

"It's really all abo...

11 comments | read more

Brutal force? Love's injuries conjure visions of strangulation, smothering

From a hemorrhage in her neck suggestive of strangulation to facial injuries consistent with smothering to signs of blunt force trauma on nearly every part of her body, the injuries apparent on the body of Yeardley Love conjure an image of a terrifyingly violent encounter.

In painstaking– and for many courtroom observers, pain-causing– detail, Virginia Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Bill Gormley described his observations from the May 4, 2010 autopsy he performed including, in particular, bruising to an area of the neck called the "carotid body," which, among other things, regulates hea...

50 comments | read more

Bombshells away: Huguely prosecution readies blood evidence

Monday morning in the trial of accused murderer George Huguely may have launched a few yawns in the courtroom, as literally dozens of photographs and other bits of evidence were shown to the jury. However, pieces of shower curtain, parts of a sink or two, and myriad photographs of red stains in Huguely's apartment appear poised to provide some afternoon bombshells for the prosecution.

Meanwhile, lawyers for a Washington news outlet lost their quest to gain better access to the screen that's showing all this evidence. Prosecutor Dave Chapman argued in the hearing earlier February 13 that only the jury– not the media– have the right to see the evidence during the trial. CBS-affiliated reporter Bruce Leshan of WUSA led the charge to re-orient the large monitor on which the jury has seen such evidence as photographs of first-responders attempting to revive Yeardley Love as well as Friday's dramatic video interrogation of her alleged killer. However, Judge Edward Hogshire sided with Chapman.


The jury on Monday morning has been hearing from Charlottesv...

43 comments | read more

Countdown to death: An action timeline of George Huguely V

Huguely suited up for lacrosse action. Fall 2006 - Having excelled as both a lacrosse player (and as the starting football quarterback) at the Landon School, Huguely enrolls in the University of Virginia to begin training as a varsity lacrosse player.

Fall 2007 - On a visit to his father's $2 million waterfront home near Florida's Palm Beach, Huguely is arrested for underage alcohol possession. He began dating UVA women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love just a few months earlier.

47 comments | read more

Juror 206: A sad tale of two Charlottesville cases

By Jennifer Niesslein

At the Charlottesville Circuit courtroom, the jury box faces outward toward the audience. I sat in that jury box on the afternoon of February 7 as a potential juror for the George Huguely trial. Before me were the families of Huguely and Yeardley Love. All of them looked somber and grief-stricken, except Love’s sister. She stared hard at Huguely. The entire scene felt uncomfortably intimate, like crashing a stranger’s funeral. I didn’t know where to look.

Over 160 residents had been called for this trial. By the time the judge was ready to see my group, there were three slots in the jury pool of 28 left. The judge and clerk randomly selected a portion of us to be interviewed under oath. To my right was a woman I’d chatted with during the long wait. Her daughter had lived a block away from where Yeardley Love died, and on the morning before any details had been released about Love’s identity, this woman had been frantic until she spoke to her daughter. “I am not going to be on that jury,” she said as we waited. “I am not going to see those autopsy pictures.” Now she looked flushed.

The judge asked us a series of increasingly pointed questions. One woman knew the defense attorney well; she was dismissed. Some of us had experiences with violence. All of us had had media exposure to the case. Some of us said the exposure had led us to form an opinion. I was not one of those people.

I didn’t...

29 comments | read more
Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse