Covering the Greater Prince William County, Virginia Area

Gainesville

News
Police Find Child Pornography at Gainesville Home

GAINESVILLE, Va. – On October 10, officers from the Special Victims Unit and Internet Crimes against Children Task Force conducted a search warrant in the area and arrested a man tied to a child pornography case. Officers were led to the suspect after they discovered that he was talking to a 16-year-old girl from New York and upon further searching of his home, officers found more evidence of child pornography. 

Here’s the latest from Prince William police; 

Child Pornography Investigation – On October 10th, detectives from the Special Victims Unit and members of the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force executed a search warrant at 4518 Logmill Rd in Gainesville (20155) in connection to an ongoing investigation into child pornography. The investigation began after it was discovered by another jurisdiction that a 16 year old juvenile female of New York was having explicit communication with the accused who resides in Prince William County. As a result of the search of the home, multiple electronic devices containing evidence of child pornography were seized. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on October 10th:

Justin Patrick BONIEWICZ, 29, of 4518 Logmill Rd in Gainesville

Charged with production of child pornographysolicitation of child pornography andusing a communications system to facilitate certain offenses with a minor

Court date: pending | Bond: held WITHOUT bond

 

News
Gunman Tries to Rob Gainesville Pharmacy

GAINESVILLE, Va. — Someone tried to rob the Gainesville Pharmacy just about 4 p.m.

The pharmacy is located at 7936 Heritage Village Plaza, just off Heathcoate Boulevard in Gainesville.

An employee told a 911 operator that a man armed with a gun walked into the store and attempted to rob it, according to initial reports. He was unsuccessful and fled the store empty handed, according to initial information.

The would-be robber fled the scene in a maroon 4-door Ford Taurus. Witnesses said the license plate on the car was a Virginia tag with the last four numbers 5554, or 5454.

The intruder was said to be white, in is late 40s, wearing a blue bandana over his face, a baseball cap and blue jeans, according to initial reports.

Traffic
Gainesville Woman Killed in Crash

A Gainesville woman was killed this past weekend on Interstate 95 this weekend.

Here’s the latest form Virginia State Police:

Virginia State Police Trooper K.W. Peterson responded to a two-vehicle crash in Prince George County, Va. The crash occurred May 22, 2014, at 4:40 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-95 near the 42 mile marker.

A tractor-trailer was southbound on I-95 in the right lane when it ran off the right side of the interstate and struck a 2007 Hyundai Elantra that was parked on the right shoulder. The driver of the parked Elantra was seated in the passenger side of the vehicle and thrown from the car when it was struck by the tractor-trailer. Meanwhile, the tractor-trailer jackknifed in the tree line off the right side of the interstate.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Henry W. Vann Jr., 65, of Ahoskie, N.C., was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seat belt. Vann was charged with reckless driving.

The driver of the Elantra, Rachel E. Gradia, 24, of Gainesville, Va., was transported to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where she died May 24, 2014.

The crash remains under investigation.

News
Candland Fails to Change Board Rules

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Board of Supervisors six, Peter Candland zero.

Prince William County officials today voted down six attempts by Supervisor Candland, who represents the Gainesville District in the western portion of the county, to change some policies and procedures upheld by the governing body of more than 400,000 county residents.

The largest of the six, Candland proposed a measure that would require all of the board’s votes be taken during an evening session to start at 7:30 p.m. This would allow time for commuters to travel back from their jobs in Washington and the surrounding area’s to attend public board meetings, he said.

Currently, the board takes up issues and holds votes during both its 2 p.m. sessions regularly scheduled on Tuesdays, and during a 7:30 p.m. Tuesday session, if one is scheduled. Officials said land-use issues – which tend to be the most controversial – are normally taken up at night.

“When I see there are only two people here [during Tuesday’s afternoon session] to me, the big reason, it screams people are at work,” said Candland. “People are taking care of their kids and people are busy.”

The supervisor himself said he regularly takes vacation time from his day job to attend regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meetings.

The current board meeting schedule differs from years past when, prior to 1992, the Board of Supervisors used to conduct business at 10 a.m., said Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins. A growing population and changing constituents’ needs prompted leaders to change the meeting times.

Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, who supported Candland, urged county officials to ensure all of the more controversial issues be taken up at night.

Others argued that holding only the votes at night, but discussing an agenda item during the afternoon session, would mean residents would miss out on the context of the discussion had by board members.

“Most of the stuff we do with regard to the business of the county during the day is, frankly, not all that titillating,” said Chairman Corey Stewart. “All that stuff, if we move it to the evening session, all that does is push land-use cases and the other stuff where there is a lot of public interest…back to 10 or 11 o’clock at night.”

Another measure to extend citizens’ time from 30 to 45 minutes each meeting – the period during each board meeting where residents can speak their mind – also failed. Stewart admitted he sees no reason to limit citizens’ time and has never done so.

Other measures regarding when official information is made available to board members and the public, and a motion to create a section on the county’s website to allow residents to comment on current agenda items also failed.

News
$3.1 Million in Sports Field Improvements Coming to Prince William

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Left over money – some $3.1 million of it – will go to benefit children, their parents, and area sports leagues who called for better playing fields in Prince William County.

A list of field improvements to be paid for with surplus unbudgeted tax money, called carryover funds, was approved by county leaders Tuesday night. Sports league members, children, and their parents sitting the audience at the government center applauded after the new fields were approved.

“We are the seventh-wealthiest county in the United States, we are continuing to get wealthier… one of the things that has clearly lagged behind [is] athletic facilities not only for student athletes, but also for seniors and others who want to participate athletics as we age,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.

MORE to the STORY: See Chairman Corey Stewart’s field improvements presentation 

The largest of the improvements will be the installation of turf fields at Gainesville and Saunders middle schools, including field lighting, for a combined $2 million. An agreement is being hashed out between the county government and the Prince William County School Division – which currently owns and maintains the fields for school and sports league use – is expected to be completed soon.

Additional improvements include the installation of an auxiliary field at Woodbridge’s Veterans Park, and lighting a rectangular field and a diamond-shaped field at Long Park in Gainesville.

Lighting will also be installed at a field at Godwin Middle School in Dale City for $200,000.

An auxiliary field and restroom facilities will also be included in the plans for Fuller Heights Park that is under construction outside Quantico. A total of $150,000 of surplus tax funds will pay for half the improvements at Fuller Heights while another $150,000 in proffer funds from developers is expected to be used to complete the job.

Stewart, who spearheaded the field improvement initiative, dubbed these projects “low-hanging fruit” that would provide the “best bang for the buck” for taxpayers. The fields are slated to be constructed later this summer.

Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland, who voted against the measure, urged officials to put the field improvements into the annual budget process that begins next month instead of spending the surplus funds now. He cautioned that the maintenance costs for the new fields would something that will have to be budgeted for each year.

“This is taxpayer money that came from all of you and we can’t treat it like it’s a pot of gold we’ve just stumbled upon, that we can spend any way that we want to,” said Candland.

Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan cast the only other dissenting vote.

Traffic
Gainesville OmniRide Begins, Service at Manassas Kmart Ends

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — It’s a new day for bus riders in Gainesville area as new service from the Cushing Road commuter lot to Washington officially began this morning.

The Cushing Road lot sits near the intersection of Prince William Parkway (Route 234 Bypass) and Balls Ford Road, and provides drivers with direct access to Interstate 66 east. The service will be free to riders between today and Friday to give commuters a chance to try the service and familiarize themselves with OmniRide Gainesville.

More in a press release: 

Locally, the new Gainesville OmniRide route will pick up and drop off passengers at the Cushing Road Commuter Lot at I-66 and Prince William Parkway. Destinations include the State Department, stops along 14th Street including the Commerce Department, and L’Enfant Plaza. There will be four trips to D.C. in the mornings and four return trips to Gainesville in the afternoon/evenings. See the map and timetable for Gainesville OmniRide buses.

PRTC currently offers the Linton Hall Metro Direct service, which connects Gainesville residents to the West Falls Church Metro Station where passengers can board a Metro train to complete their commutes. PRTC surveys have shown that some Linton Hall Metro Direct passengers will choose to ride the Gainesville OmniRide service instead. As a result, one Linton Hall Metro Direct morning trip and one afternoon trip will be eliminated as of November 4. See the new map and timetable for Linton Hall Metro Direct buses.

With the change, buses will no longer serve a nearby commuter lot at Kmart store on Sudley Road in Manassas. A parking agreement between commuter bus operator PRTC and the owners of the property on which Kmart sits was not renewed and drivers should instead park at a nearby commuter parking lot on Portsmouth Road, said PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

Kmart announced earlier this year the store on Sudley Road would close.

The changes mean the Manassas OmniRide bus that has been providing service between Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. will have one less stop. Those who have been driving to Manassas to park and catch the bus can now drive to the Cushing Road commuter lot and ride the new Gainesville service, said Rodrigo.

The cost to PRTC of leasing 295 parking spaces at Sudley Manor Square has increased by 57% over the past three years. The Portsmouth Commuter Lot, which is owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation, is just 1.3 miles away and has more than 550 unused parking spaces.

Now that some passengers will be parking at Cushing Road to catch the new Gainesville OmniRide service, PRTC has concluded that termination of the Sudley Manor Square lease is appropriate, saving $44,000 annually. The Portsmouth lot is already served by Manassas commuter buses, and PRTC will reroute afternoon/evening trips on Manassas OmniRide buses to serve the Portsmouth Lot prior to serving Manassas Mall.

The commuter bus service also announced the following changes  as part of their annual fall service change:

· Dale City-Navy Yard OmniRide – PM trips renumbered to incorporate a trip added in June;

· Montclair OmniRide – AM and PM trips rescheduled to incorporate new trips added in June;

· Woodbridge-Lake Ridge OmniLink – Minor timetable changes;

· Dale City OmniLink – Minor timetable changes;

· Dumfries OmniLink – Minor timetable changes; and

· Manassas Park OmniLink – Timetable changes

For more information about PRTC’s transportation services, call (703) 730-6664 or visit PRTCtransit.org.

Traffic
Improved U.S. 29 Makes Life Easier for Police

Drivers headed south on U.S. 29 in Gainesville now use an elevated bridge to cross train tracks. The new separated interchange is expected to stop frequent train vs. car collisions in the area. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

GAINESVILLE, Va. — Commuters, shoppers, school buses, and freight trains used to converge at U.S. 29 in Gainesville.

For years the mix of travelers, and a growing population in western Prince William County, made the intersection problematic for not only drivers, but also for Prince William’s finest.

Five train vs. car crashes in the past 18 months at the intersection made things especially hectic. And, while no one was seriously injured in any of the incidents, responding to the train crashes was a major feat.

The accident clean up regularly snarled traffic on surrounding roads because the train was never allowed to move until an “all clear” was given from railroad investigators.

When an SUV headed south on U.S. 29 collided with a train on Dec. 19, a total of 16 Prince William police officers were called to redirect traffic around the mess and assist in an investigation. That doesn’t include a string of Virginia State Police Troopers who helped divert traffic on nearby Interstate 66, fire and rescue crews, and the county’s sheriff’s office that pitched in to help.

It was, at least back then, a typical emergency response for a train vs. car incident in Gainesville.

“We would often hear drivers say ‘I thought I was far enough off the tracks’ or ‘I didn’t even hear a train coming,’” said Prince William police Capt. Heidi Braun.

But all that changed this summer when a new bridge over the train tracks opened to traffic. Now, as part of major ongoing interchange improvements in Gainesville, drivers will no longer have to tussle with trains.

It’s good news when it comes to the safety of drivers, and for police officers who, during a car vs. train crash, would be forced to stand along roadways to direct traffic, risking the chance of being hit by another car.

“You’re going to see more of a smooth transition from Route 29, as shoppers will be able to get from Linton Hall Road and Gateway Center into the shopping center and be separated from all of those commuters who just want to simply go home,” said Braun.

The past five car vs. train crashes took place during evening rush hours, when drivers are out running errands at the adjacent Virginia Gateway Shopping Center, or are simply headed home from work.

Prior to the new bridge opening, the police department worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation to implement new safety measures at the intersection.

“VDOT has been very responsive to us. Last year we had some hard-to-see markings that caused drivers not to see the train tracks. So they came out and painted lines, and added lots of signage that said ‘train starts here, stop here,’” said Braun.

The intersection is where U.S. 29, the railroad, Linton Hall Road, and Va. 55 all converge. When the $267 million interchange improvements are complete, U.S. 29 will be widened to six lanes, and a pair of overpasses — one that now carries traffic over the railroad tracks, and the other that will carry traffic over Linton Hall Road and Va. 55 over the railroad and U.S. 29 — will be in place. It will create a limited-access roadway between I-66 and Virginia Oaks Drive.

More than 57,000 cars a day travel on U.S. 29 in Gainesville, according to VDOT.

 

Braun

Braun

Capt. Braun’s intersections to watch out for:

With more than 23 years of law enforcement experience, Capt. Heidi Braun has seen a lot of crashes — some of them fatal.

But you can protect yourself and other drivers by paying attention when behind the wheel while staying safe on the roads. Braun urges drivers to pay close attention at these known problematic intersections Prince William County —

— Sudley Road and Balls Ford Road — Manassas

— Sudley Manor Drive at Sudley Road — Manassas

— Dumfries Road at Prince William Parkway — Manassas

— Dale Boulevard at Minnieville Road — Dale City

— Dale Boulevard at Gideon Drive — Dale City

 

News
1 Dead after Gainesville Town House Blaze

Update 

Police released the identity of the man killed in a town house fire early Thursday morning. 

More in a police press release: 

Joint Death Investigation | Fire related – On September 19th at 4:52AM, police responded to the 8400 block of Tackhouse Lp in Gainesville (20155) to assist the Department of Fire and Rescue with a house fire. There was one confirmed fatality as a result of the fire.

The victim has been identified as an adult male. No other injuries were reported and no foul play is suspected at this point in the investigation. This is currently a joint investigation with the Fire Marshal’s Office looking into the cause of the fire and the police department investigating the death. The investigation continues. Fire Marshal’s Office news release

Identified:

The victim has been identified as Stephen Frankenberg, 65, of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Va. — A man is dead this morning after a townhouse fire in Gainesville.

The blaze broke out about 5 a.m. on Tackhouse Loop just off Vint Hill Road, near the intersection of Rollins Ford Road.

When fire crews arrived, they learned “several” people were trapped inside the house and needed to be rescued and a second alarm was sounded, said Prince William fire and rescue Battalion Chief Curt Brodie.

One unidentified victim was pulled from the burning house with serious injuries, was taken to a hospital and later died. The cause of death has not been released.

The fire was extinguished quickly, and now investigators are on the scene assessing what may have caused the blaze. That, as well as as a final damage estimate, are not yet known.

Police are offering limited access to Tackhouse Loop this morning as the investigation into the house fire continues.

News
Urgent Care Plans Drive-Through Shot Clinic in Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Va. — Drive through and get your flu shot.

NOVA Urgent Care in Gainesville will hold a drive-through flu shot clinic on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Here’s more in a press release:

Back by popular demand, Nova Urgent Care will host its annual Drive Thru Flu Clinic for patients of all ages at the Ashburn & Gainesville offices. Vaccines will be administered to patients from the comfort of their car. $20 per person; self-pay, cash only.

Children over 6-months-old, seniors, pregnant women, and those with chronic illness are encouraged to get vaccinated.

NOVA Urgent Care is located at 6950 Piedmont Center Plaza in Gainesville.

 

 

Traffic
U.S. 29 Traffic Being Shifted over Railroad, Train vs. Car Collisions will be Thing of the Past

GAINESVILLE, Va. — Remember a few weeks back when we told you to avoid Gainesville like the plague? Tonight, you’ll want to heed that warning.

Construction crews will close all but one lane in each direction on U.S. 29 and Linton Hall Road. It’s a busy intersection near Interstate 66 that draws not only cars and trucks, but it also has a busy street-level railroad crossing.

The reason for the roadwork is actually about the railroad as crews are working to shift traffic on U.S. 29 to a new bridge that will carry vehicles over the street level crossing, which has been the site of several vehicle vs. train collisions over the years.

The work will break down like this:

From 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 until noon Sunday, Aug. 25, only one lane in each direction will be open on Route 29 and Linton Hall Road and some turning movements will be restricted.

Motorists can avoid delays of up to an hour through Gainesville by using I-66 and Route 15.

In order to switch traffic, crews need to construct a tie-in to the new bridge and pave and stripe the area. Police will be on the scene to assist with traffic control.

Originally, the Virginia Department of Transportation scheduled the traffic shift last weekend but a Jimmy Buffett concert at nearby Jiffy Lube Live, and the traffic it would bring, prompted officials think better of their decision and postpone the work to this weekend.

This work is apart of a project that began in the early part of the last decade, as crews began widening a portion of I-66 to eight lanes between Va. 234 (Sudley Road) to Va. 234 Bypass (Prince William Parkway), which was completed in 2006.

Another leg of the project, a 4-lane University Boulevard in Gainesville, also opened in 2006. Subsequent work also included widening I-66 from Va. 234 Bypass to U.S. 29, as well as improving the interchange at U.S. 29 and I-66.

A congested area, Gainesville is a magnet for shoppers, and serves as a gateway to Charlottesville and other portions of Virginia for traveling by way of U.S. 29.

News
Man Charged with 3 Counts of Rape

GAINESVILLE, Va. — A 26-year-old-man was arrested and charged with three counts of rape.

More in a police press release.

On August 13, 2013 at 2:46PM, police responded to investigate a sexual assault which was reported to have occurred in the 8000 block of Crescent Park Drive in Gainesville (20155).

The investigation revealed the victim, a 24 year old woman of Gainesville, had been sexually assaulted by the accused, a known acquaintance, while residing at the residence in the above area. Following the investigation the accused was subsequently arrested.

Arrested:

Christopher Kim SHAFER, 26, of the 8000 block of Crescent Park Drive in Gainesville

Charged with three counts of Rape

Court date unavailable l Held without bond

 

News
Sold-Out Jimmy Buffett Show Prompts VDOT to Reconsider Gainesville Traffic Shift

GAINESVILLE, Va. –– Jimmy Buffett proved to be too much for construction crews, so work to switch the flow of traffic at a major Gainesville intersection has been postponed.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will shift traffic on to a new bridge that will carry on Linton Hall Road over U.S. 29, which will eliminate an at-grade crossing notoriously known as the site of several collisions with trains and cars.

More in a VDOT press release:

VDOT has delayed the traffic switch by a week due to the sold-out Jimmy Buffet concert at Jiffy Lube Live, which is located about a mile from the construction zone. “With 25,000 concert-goers coming to Gainesville Aug. 17, that weekend clearly was not the best one for us to take away a lane on Route 29,” said Bill Cuttler, VDOT’s district construction engineer in northern Virginia.

From 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 until noon Sunday, Aug. 25, only one lane in each direction will be open on Route 29 and Linton Hall Road and some turning movements will be restricted.

Motorists can avoid delays of up to an hour through Gainesville by using I-66 and Route 15. Message signs will be posted several days in advance of the traffic switch..

“The weekend of Aug. 24-25 will be a major inconvenience for Gainesville area motorists but by Sunday afternoon the hazardous at-grade railroad crossing will be no more,” said Cuttler. Getting traffic off Route 29 and onto the new bridge is a safety improvement that cannot happen soon enough.”

In order to switch traffic, crews need to construct a tie-in to the new bridge and pave and stripe the area. Police will be on the scene to assist with traffic control.

VDOT held an informational meeting earlier this month to detail the traffic shift. Many residents, business owners, and emergency crews were concerned that the planned traffic shift and influx of concert-goers to the region would create major traffic problems in the area.

Traffic
Major Construction Detours to Impact Jimmy Buffett Weekend, Delays Expected

GAINESVILLE, Va. — What do you get when you mix a major construction project and Jimmy Buffet? On the weekend of August 16 through 18, it’s a recipe for road delays.

Virginia Department of Transportation officials working to improve the intersection at U.S. 29 and Linton Hall Road, where a series new bridges will carry traffic on Linton Hall Road over U.S. 29 and a railroad, told drivers Wednesday to soon expect major delays in the area.

All the traffic in busy intersection will be reduced to one lane in each direction, on U.S. 29 and Linton Hall Road, so traffic can be shifted to a new bridge over the railroad. But major delays of up to an hour are expected over the weekend the work will take place, and officials have posted a detour, according to information presented at a town hall meeting last night:

– 8/16 9 PM

– Rt 29 NB Left & Right Turns Closed

– Rt 29 SB Left Turns Closed

– Linton Hall Rd WB Limited Lanes (Right, Left & Straight

– John Marshall Hwy WB closed and detoured via Catharpin movements permitted)

(Local traffic permitted to Dave’s Store Lane) Linton Hall & Rt 29 Intersection Construction

– 8/17

– Rt 29 NB moved into Stage 3 Configuration Single Lane early

morning

– Midnight I66 WB to RT 29 SB ramp closed. Traffic detoured to Rt

– Rt 29 SB moved into Stage 3 Configuration Single Lane early morning

– Midday Linton Hall Rd & Rt 29 Signal would be reopened to its 29 NB Exit and allowed to make a left at the Rt 29 Signal.complete Stage 3 Configuration with the exception of single lane closures on RT 29 NB & SB.

– 8/17 Cont. & 8/18

– Construction of the Ramp G (I66 WB to RT 29 SB) detour would begin immediately following the closure of the existing ramp and the moving of SB Rt 29 into the Stage 3 Configuration.

Construction of this Detour is anticipated to be completed on 8/18

“There has been a lot of planning on VDOT’s part and the contractor’s part, and we’re asking for for everyone’s patience,” said Mike Trabucco, a spokesman for Shirley Contractors, the firm overseeing construction of the project.

Nearby the construction area sits Jiffy Lube Live, one of the region’s largest outdoor concert venues. It’s here, on the weekend when the detours are planned, that singer Jimmy Buffett will make his annual pilgrimage to the Jiffy Lube stage, drawing thousands of fans to the concert venue.

VDOT officials hope drivers heed the warnings and plan to take another route. Instead of using Linton Hall Road to Wellington Road to access Jiffy Lube Live, a better route around the mess from Interstate 66 would be Prince William Parkway to Balls Ford Road, to Wellington Road.

The new $267 million bridge over the railroad and U.S. 29 will be completely finished by this fall. Two new bridges — one that will carry traffic on U.S. 29 over railroad tracks and another that will carry traffic on Va. 55 (John Marshall Highway, which intersects with Linton Hall Road at U.S. 29) over railroad tracks — should open sometime next year.

Currently, U.S. 29 crosses the railroad and it’s often a site where vehicles both big that are sitting on the a railroad crossing and small are hit by trains, including the latest accident last week. No one was injured, and signs have been posted at the intersection warning drivers not to stop on the tracks.

Traffic
Expect Increased Police Patrols on U.S. 15 This Weekend

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — U.S. 15 in Virginia is a popular north-south route for travelers hoping to sidestep the state’s busy Interstate 95 corridor. The road runs from the North Carolina border connecting towns like Haymarket, Warrenton, and Leesburg. Ultimately it links South Carolina to New York, and this weekend police from all six jurisdictions in which the highway traverses will increase patrols

on U.S. 15 in an effort to save lives.

Between midnight Friday through Sunday, police from six agencies including Virginia State Police, will be out conducting sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols as well as other law enforcement duties in an effort to slow drivers and combat criminal behavior along this heavily traveled, non-interstate highway.

The enforcement efforts marks the first time police in all six states in which U.S. 15 is located have worked together on a major enforcement task like this. Last year, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia authorities launched the first such joint operation to patrol the highway and netted 509 speeders and 16 reckless drivers, according to Virginia State Police. In addition, seven drunken drivers in were arrested in Virginia and Maryland, and a total of 24 felony arrests to include two drug arrests were made.

Crashes are up 23 percent over 2011 along Virginia’s 230-mile stretch of U.S. 15, police said. There were nearly 400 crashes along the highway in Virginia last year, up from 2011’s 318 crashes. Five of the crashes in 2012 were fatal, said police.

U.S. 15 in Virginia alternates between a 2-lane and 4-lane road configuration. In Fauquier and Prince William counties, a portion of the roadway is shared with U.S. 29 before splitting off north toward Haymarket and Loudoun County.

News
2 Gaming Systems Taken in Store Robbery

GAINESVILLE, Va. – It appears someone wanted to level up with a new gaming console, and used a knife to take the fun home for himself.

Two gaming systems were stolen yesterday from a GameStop store in Gainesville. Police said the man used a knife in the heist.

Here’s more in a police press release:

On February 24th at 5:55PM, police responded to the GameStop located at 7336 Atlas Walk Way in Gainesville (20155) for a robbery.  Employees reported to police that just prior to closing; an unknown man entered the business and walked into a rear storage area holding a knife. The man took 2 gaming consoles, valued around $600, and fled the store. The suspect was last seen getting into the passenger seat of an awaiting vehicle. No injuries were reported.

Lookout:

White male, between 25 & 30 years of age, 6’1”, 180 lbs, medium build with short brown hair and a goatee

Last seen wearing a brown shirt, blue jeans, brown/red hat, and a brown cardigan jacket

Vehicle Lookout:

A black, 2dr Chevrolet Monte Carlo with “Official Pace Car” on the sides

Anyone with information relating to this case is asked to call Crime Solvers at 703-670-3700 or 1-866-411-TIPS. You don’t have to give your name, just the information. You could earn up to a $1,000 cash reward.

Traffic
Train Hits Trailer in Gainesville: Portion of U.S. 29 Closed

GAINESVILLE, Va. – It’s happened again – a trailer that was stopped on train tracks at U.S. 29 in Gainesville was swiped by a train.

No one was injured, but the accident has forced the closure of a portion of the busy commuter route just south of Interstate 66 near the Virginia Gateway shopping center. Police said the closed portion of the roadway will remain that way for at least another two to three hours while an investigation takes place.

Police said drivers in the area will need to follow police direction to get around the road closure. Those who need to go to the area should find another route, police added.

This latest closure comes after a train collided with an SUV at the same location just before Christmas last year. No one was injured in that collision, but investigators said the SUV had come to a stop on the tracks in heavy traffic and could not clear the area as the train approached.

A project from the Virginia Department of Transportation is underway to build a grade-separated interchange that will allow drivers to pass over the train tracks. The project is expected to be completed in 2015.

News
Computers Donated to PACE West

Submitted News

GAINESVILLE, Va. — Earlier this week, local Gainesville business, QBE, and the Rotary Foundation of Gainesville/Haymarket donated 15 laptop computers to PACE West School in Haymarket.

In response to this donation, Supervisor Candland issued the following statement:

“This gift from QBE and the Rotary Foundation are the epitome of generosity and community service. QBE has made an investment in our community by committing to purchase the former PACE West building and creating local jobs, and they have again shown their commitment to Prince William County by partnering with the Rotary Foundation to donate laptops for the IT lab at the new PACE West,” said Prince William Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland. “These computers will go a long way toward training and educating the next generation that will face a job market that increasingly depends on robust computer skills. I can’t thank QBE and the Rotary Foundation enough for their generosity and service to the Western Prince William County community.”

 

News
UPDATE: Murder Charges Filed in Stringfellow Homicide

An arrest has been made in the death of a 19-year-old Manassas man.

More in a Fairfax County police press release:

Johnny E. Bonilla, 22, 13289 Catharpin Valley Drive, Gainesville was charged with murder at around 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 29. Members of the U.S. Marshals Service were assisted by Prince William County and Fairfax County officers and arrested the suspect at his home.

Police determined that the suspect and victim did not know each other prior to the evening of the incident. They had planned to meet up on the evening of Friday, December 28. Apparently, they met; there was a struggle and the victim was stabbed.

 

 

Insidenova.com reports the victim was an all-state football player at Battlefield High School.

 

 

4 p.m. 

Police in Fairfax County have identified a 19-year-old found dead inside of a car overnight. They are now treating the case as a homicide.

The latest statement from police:

Police have identified the deceased in last night’s incident as Zavier O. Stringfellow, 19, of Gales Court in the Manassas area. Detectives are investigating the death as an apparent homicide. According to the Medical Examiner, the man died of a trauma wound to the upper body.

Detectives continue to follow up on leads and the investigation is continuing.

Noon

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — A man from Gainvesville was found dead inside of a car in Fairfax County. Investigators want to know more about how he died.

Here’s more in a press release from Fairfax County police:

Police are investigating a death that occurred in a vehicle at around 7 p.m. Friday, December 28 in the Vienna area.

An officer came across a minivan that had crashed into a barrier at the end of a service road off of Chain Bridge Road near Glengyle Drive. The officer summoned for rescue and it was determined that the driver was deceased. Evidence suggested that the driver’s injuries may not have been caused by the crash; detectives and crime scene investigators responded to the scene.

Police have identified the deceased as a 19-year-old Gainesville area man. They are investigating the incident as “suspicious” and are determining whether or not criminal circumstances are involved. An autopsy is being conducted by the Office of the Medical Examiner to determine the exact cause and manner of death.

The investigation is continuing.

Traffic
SUV vs. Train Snarls Traffic in Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Va. — What a mess for commuters on Wednesday night. An SUV that was sitting at a railroad crossing on U.S. 29 in Gainesville was hit by a train about 7 p.m.

The train damaged the front of the SUV  but the female driver inside was not injured, according to a Prince William police official on the scene.

Police closed a portion of U.S. 29 from Va. 55 at the Virginia Gateway Shopping to Heathcoate Boulevard. Virginia State Police also blocked exit ramps from Interstate 66 to prevent traffic exiting the highway from entering southbound U.S. 29 at the scene of the crash.

Needless to say traffic was snarled in Gainesville as police conducted their investigation.

About 8:30 p.m., railroad officials allowed the train to move. That ultimately allowed them to clear the SUV from the scene and to get traffic flowing again.

This is the third vehicle vs. train collision at this intersection in about a year. Highway improvements underway in this area will see the construction of an overpass that will carry drivers above the railway to prevent these types of at-grade collisions. With improvements already made to the I-66 / U.S. 29 interchange nearby, the overall $97 million improvement project should be complete in 2015.

U.S. 29 is expected to carry 57,000 vehicles per day through Gainesville by 2035, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

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