Charlottesville Breaking News

Car struck by Amtrak train downtown

No one was injured when a car was struck shortly before 2:30 this afternoon on the Second Street SW SE railroad crossing by a passing Amtrak train. The Westbound Amtrak Cardinal was delayed while a crew from Charlottesville Wrecker cleared the damaged Oldsmobile Intrigue from the CSX/Buckingham Branch tracks.

The car, bearing several bumper stickers–- including "I [heart] mountains" and "This is Your Brain on Hugs"–- appeared to have been traveling southbound, away from the Downtown Mall near the X Lounge restaurant, at the time of the incident. Two Amtrak officials, who said they were conductors, referred media questions to Amtrak headquarters.

Whether or not the safety gate-equipped crossing was properly working could not be immediately determined.

[More photographs]


Update/clarification: The accident occurred at 1:52pm and delayed the train and its 192 passengers for 65 minutes, according to an Amtrak spokesperson. City spokesperson Ric Barrick says that police ticketed the driver, 45-year-old Hisham Naim Ashur of Charlottesville, who has numerous past summonses for traffic violations including defective headlights, failure to obey a traffic sign, following too closely, speed, inspection, failure to stop, and failur...

7 comments | read more

Murder series points to Evonitz, not Rice

Darrell David Rice is the convicted attacker once suspected of being both the Route 29 stalker as well and the Shenandoah Park murderer, as detailed in a pair of Hook stories last spring. But he gets a more sympathetic treatment by the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star last week. While the now-free Rice has been reviled by neighbors in his idyllic Maryland island town, the Fredericksburg paper points out that investigators have inexplicably refused to cross-check forensic evidence from four unsolved murders to a known serial child-killer active in Central Virginia in the mid-1990s, Richard Marc Evonitz. Readers can click on a new Rice-friendly site to see a friendly new photo of Rice and get linked to the book-length package published in Fredericksburg.

4 comments | read more

No more Dyke for boys school

Parents accustomed to mailing care packages to their sons at Blue Ridge School have been using a different address for the last few years– but who (besides them) knew? Yep, mail that formerly went to the school at Dyke, VA (population ~3050) has been going to St. George, VA since 1999.

Robert Murphy, assistant headmaster for advancement at the all-boys prep school in Greene County, says officials at the school decided to return to the community's original name in time for the school's centennial in 2009. But the paperwork moved through the post office faster than expected, and it's been St. George since 1999– unbeknownst to everyone we know.

The little burg of St. George, which got its name from the school's patron saint, was one of several along Bacon Hollow Road a hundred years ago, Murphy says, each one with its own post office, usually in a country store. When zip codes arrived, and it was necessary to combine them all in one convenient drop spot, Dyke won because it was situated on Rt. 810, which Murphy calls the "main road."

People who wonder how an all-boys school survived so long in a town called Dyke– which has become a pejorative term for...

2 comments | read more

Springsteen to play JPJ

Yes, it's true...the Boss is coming. Billboard is reporting that Bruce Springsteen's 2008 tour schedule includes a stop at the John Paul Jones area on April 30, the last show on his schedule. And it's been a long time coming. November 17, 1974 was the last time the Boss visited Charlottesville, when the then 25-year-old played to a packed Mem Gym just nine months before Born to Run was released. According to a Cavalier Daily review of the show, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy by Springsteen's high-energy stage performance. Over 30 years later, it appears the Boss is still whipping up a frenzy. Billboard reports that the fall tour in the U.S. grossed $27.8 million and sold out 14 of the 18 shows. But will the Boss succeed where The Police did not? ~~ Update: John Paul Jones arena confirms with a press release at 5:28pm.

12 comments | read more

Justine's vigil brings comfort, questions

On Saturday, November 3, dozens of people flocked to Taylor Park on Main Street in downtown Orange for a vigil to remember Justine Swartz Abshire, a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher and animal lover killed November 3, 2006, in an apparent hit and run on Taylorsville Road near Barboursville.

While the vigil was intended to remember and celebrate Justine's life, her family also wanted to remind those in attendance that the crime remains unsolved. Along with friends, reporters– including a New York-based television crew from ABC's 20/20 and Primetime shows– mingled and interviewed attendees, some of whom had traveled from as far away as California and Oregon to attend.

Most of the vigil-goers were local, however, including one whose presence might have come as a surprise to some: Justine's widower, Eric Abshire.

Last May, at the same they boosted a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case from $10,000 to $50,000, the Swartzes took the unusual step of suggesting Abshire had been less than forthcoming with both them and with police. They cited alleged inconsistencies in his stor...

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