Charlottesville Breaking News

Crosswalk bombshell: Officer texting before hitting wheelchair man

For nearly four years, the dashcam video of a County police cruiser striking a wheelchair pedestrian in a crosswalk in broad daylight was the most shocking aspect of the case. Now, a new court filing drops additional bombshells– including one that may explain how it happened.

New information revealed in the course of the victim's civil lawsuit indicates that immediately before the incident, the Albemarle officer, Gregory C. Davis, was involved in "excessive texting." Furthermore, according to the document, Officer Davis may, under oath, have intentionally downplayed his texting.

"Members of the public who have seen this video probably wondered how in the world this officer could have missed this person in a wheelchair," says attorney Richard Armstrong. "This finally explains."

Messages left with Davis, his attorney, and the chief of police were not returned; and police spokesperson Darrell Byers says the ongoing litigation prevents comment.

The November 5, 2007 accident created widespread outrage, particularly after release of the dashcam video showing clear conditions at the intersection of West Main and Fourth Streets.

Feelings were already running high since the officer went uncharged while the injured man in the wheelchair, Gerry Mitchell, was served with a ticket in his UVA hospital bed. In the months following the ac...

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Snap: Waiting for Irene

Citizens visit the Corner district Saturday, August 27 in advance of the rain from Hurricane Irene.

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Good afternoon, Irene: Eat, drink, and be merry...

Irene may have stood us up, attracted as she was to the coast and the mountains of Vermont (Hey, prayers for those affected by the rains up there, and for those all along the East Coast who weren't as fortunate as we were), but it looks like some local restaurants and eateries got into the hurricane spirit! Indeed, some notable establishments even invented their own spirits...

Over at Mas they concocted a "Hurricane Punch" made with rum, more rum, some kind of juice, triple sec and grenadine. At Mono Loco they offered a cryptic message on their FB page, "Eat, drink, and be merry…" Indeed, according to bartender Ben Louquet, who also happens to be a Hook ad rep, Mono Loco's own 'Hurricane' special may have done more damage than Irene. His windy brew called for dark rum, light rum, Cointreau, passion fruit, orange juice, lime juice, agave nectar, and raspberry puree.

Down at Camino on Market Street they also had a Hurricane punch that packed a wallop with Myers rum, light Bacadi, orange juice, fresh lime, and grenadine.

"It was such a hit on Friday night that we had to go get more rum," says Camino's Drew Hart. "But curiously, after that, no one ordered one. I guess by Saturday night everyone was already sick of the hurricane, and on Sunday I talked to a bunch of people who said no one went out at all."

At...

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Rattle on: We've had 'more than 100' aftershocks

Still feeling multiple aftershocks every day? Friends saying you're dreaming? You may not be, according to a top earthquake scientist, who says that there have been "more than 100 aftershocks."

Bill Leith, the acting senior advisor for earthquake hazards for the U.S. Geologic Survey, say that Central Virginians will continue to feel about a dozen aftershocks per day in the immediate future. At press time, the Survey's website listed 19 quakes of 2.0 and above since the 5.8 whopper on August 23, and sensitive devices are registering many more.

"These aftershocks are going to go on for weeks and months," says Leith, adding that the magnitudes with diminish over time.

How about another big one?

"We can't rule out another large aftershock," says Leith, "but the probabilities are low."

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Original August 27 headline and posting:

Irene-schmirene: We've had TEN aftershocks

Irene has just begun its Charlottesville sprinkling, but the hurricane has begun weakening and steering east, and folks in Louisa County are still reeling in the aftermath of the earthquakes that have hammered their houses and schools. According to a Friday damage report by government officials, they've already tallied about $7 million in damage– and that doesn't even include the two public schools that'll be closed f...

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Irene cancels: Bad weekend to go to New York

Airlines are usually the first to cancel in bad weather. With Hurricane Irene ready to slam into the Eastern Seaboard, trains and buses are getting scratched as well.

Amtrak canceled trains south of Washington, DC, for Friday-Sunday, August 27-29. So far, that doesn't include the trains that go through Charlottesville– the Crescent, Cardinal and Northeast Regional– but an Amtrak spokeswoman expects an update today.

Flash floods and debris on the tracks are the main worries, says Amtrak's Christina Leeds. Lots of times, local operators take down the track gates that keep cars off the tracks, she says. And Northeast corridor trains run on electricity, problematic if the power is out.

Over at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, executive director Barbara Hutchinson expects to see Dulles, Laguardia and Philadelphia airports closing tonight, affecting United and US Airways flights. "They'll want to reposition those aircraft," she says. And some of them may be riding out the storm at CHO.

US Airways has loosened its rescheduling fees for ...

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