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Tornado Drill Starts at 9:45 a.m.

Virginia’s state-wide tornado drill will take place this morning at 9:45 a.m.

Students in schools, office workers at businesses and in government and those at home are asked to participate in  the drill so they will know what to do in the event a twister strikes.

The National Weather Service will send out a test tornado warning triggering a tone alert on NOAA Weather Radio. The warning will also prompt a warning message on radio and TV.

Check back later today for more on today’s tornado drill.

News
Police: Intoxicated Driver Tried to Flee with Child

Carlos Sanchez Ramos faces multiple charges in a crash that left one man dead. (Submitted)

Update 1:20 p.m.
The man charged in crash that killed a Fairfax Station man tried to flee the scene with a child in his arms, police say.

Following the crash involving two other cars at Richmond Highway at Fairfax County Parkway, police say , of Springfield, grabbed a 3-year-old child that was a passenger in the car and attempted to flee the scene on foot.

A short time later, police caught up with the man and child and picked them up.

The child was not injured, and another 31-year-old man who was also a passenger inside the Honda stayed on the scene to speak with police.

The second male passenger was taken to a local hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.

Police say Ramos was driving a 1994 Honda Civic northbound on Richmond Highway near Fairfax County Parkway about 5:30 p.m. Monday when he lost control of the car, swerved, and then overcorrected and plowed into a Ford SUV.

That sent the SUV into the oncoming southbound lanes of the highway, forcing it to collide with a Mercedes Benz. The driver of the SUV, 54-year-old Paul J. Krause was flown to an area hospital and later died, police said.

The occupants of the Mercedes, a 73-year-old woman and 77-year-old man, were taken to a local hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.

Ramos now faces charges of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, driving on an alcohol-revoked license, child endangerment and with two counts of felony hit and run, police say.

Original Post 8:30 a.m.
Lorton, Va. ––
The man injured in a serious crash last night on Richmond Highway has died.

Police have not released the victim’s name, but they do say he was driving  Ford Fusion SUV about 5:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the highway when he was struck by a 1994 Honda Civic.

The driver of that Honda lost control of the car and ran off to the road into the right shoulder, then over corrected and struck the SUV, said Fairfax County police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.

Afterward, the SUV was forced into the southbound lanes and collided with an oncoming Mercedes Benz.

The driver of the SUV was flown to an area hospital where he later died, said Caldwell.

The occupants of the Mercedes, a man and wife, suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening and were taken to an area hospital.

Two male occupants of the Honda suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The yet-to-be identified driver of the Honda faces multiple charges, including DUI, said Caldwell.

Police say alcohol and speed appear to be factors in the crash.

We’ll bring you more on this story as it develops

News
Around Town

Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department spokesman Mark Doyle is called to a brush fire at Willowmere Park. (Mary Davidson/PotmacLocal.com)

More charges in Virginia for East Coast Rapist suspect
The man charged in the East Coast Rapist attacks now faces more charges, this time in Loudoun County.
A grand jury there today indicted Aaron Thomas on charges of rape, abduction with intent to defile and with forcible sodomy, NBCWashington.com reports.

Beauty pageant contestant has big plans
Miss Greater Springfield is from Lorton and attends classes at Virginia Tech. Not busy enough, now she will go on to compete in the Miss Virginia Pageant in June, Lorton Patch reports.

Airport needs donations to hold festival
The Stafford Regional Airport needs $8,000 more to host the annual Wings and Wheel’s Festival, and they are looking for donors, reports Staffordcountysun.com.

News
One Critical After Crash

Police closed Richmond Highway at Pohick Road in Lorton following a crash Monday evening that left one person in critical condition and two others injured.

11:30 p.m. Update
Richmond Highway in Lorton reopened about 10:30 p.m. following a crash there that left one person in critical condition and injured three others.

9 p.m. Update
One person is in serious condition tonight after crash on Richmond Highway.

Fairfax County police Lt. LB Gamble says three cars were traveling on the four-lane highway in the area of Ft. Belvoir’s main entrance when they collided about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

A male victim was flown to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries while two other males and one female were all taken to another area hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life threatening, said Gamble.

The crash happened in the area of highway between Fairfax County Parkway and the Ft. Belvoir’s main entrance.

Police closed the highway to all traffic in the area as investigators were reconstructing the crash scene about 9 p.m.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call them with details at 703-691-2131.

8 p.m. Update
A crash has closed the northbound lanes of Richmond Highway at Fairfax County Parkway.

Police have not confirmed if there are any injuries in the crash, but the four-lane highway has been closed while police conduct their investigation.

The crash was reported at 5:22 p.m., and the lanes are expected to be closed for at least two more hours, officials said.

We’ll bring you updates on this story as we get them.

Original Post 7:40 p.m.
Lorton ,Va. –– Both northbound lanes of Richmond Highway at Fairfax County Parkway are closed after a major crash, police say.

Details on the crash are limited, but officials say the lanes will be closed for at least two hours.

News
Around Town

In Stafford, will they or won’t they accept the fire safety grant?
It appears Stafford County has been awarded a grant to improve fire and rescue response in the northern portion of the county, Frdericksburg.com reports. But will they accept it?

New police tool used for tracking East Coast Rapist
When it came to arresting the man now charged as the East Coast Rapist, police said they used a relatively new tool to track the suspect’s height, weight, event past traffic tickets,  the Associated Press reports.

FBI hits wrong houses
Neighbors were concerned and confused late Wednesday night when federal agents swarmed homes on Bremerton Drive in Dale City. They were even more confused and upset when they learned the FBI raided the wrong homes, TBD.com reports.

News
Search and Rescue Team Headed to Japan

Fairfax County, Va. –– The affects of this morning’s earthquake in Japan are hitting home.

Fairfax County’s urban search and rescue team has been mobilized and will head to the island nation to help authorities there deal with the aftermath of a major tsunami that struck today following the earthquake.

The task force is made up of 72 members, search and rescue canines, physicians, paramedics, structural engineers, technical rescue specialists and other support personnel.

The team was last deployed to Haiti after a massive earthquake struck that island in January 2010.

At least 300 people died this morning following the massive magnitude six earthquake, and more than 530 have been reported missing.

News
Around Town

Prince William will not drop lawsuit against DHS
Prince William County has no plans to drop its lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security after an illegal immigrant last year was charged in the death of a nun, the Washington Examiner reports.

Residents want oversight committee for police
Since a Fairfax County police officer last year shot and killed an unarmed man on Richmond Highway, many residents called for a citizen oversight committee for the department. Now they’re about to hear if they will actually get what they want, the Mount Vernon Gazette reports.

“Never forget” the loss of Charlie Sheen on TV
The Bullet at the University of Mary Washington reminds us March 7 was a dark day in American television, when the nation lost the beloved star of “Two and a half men.” They remind us to never forget.

Traffic
Metro Announces Major Changes

Washington Metro System (Courtesy: Planet Ware)

The face of Washington’s Metrorail map will soon change forever, and those changes will affect riders on the Blue and Yellow lines.

Metro officials announced today their plans to realign service on the Blue and Yellow lines.

Those changes will take effect June 2012, and the move will have one-third of Blue line trains from the Franconia-Springfield station cross the  Yellow line bridge over the Potomac River after the leaving Pentagon station, providing direct service to the L’Enfant Plaza station in Washington, according to a Metro press release.

Those trains would no longer serve Arlington Cemetery or the Rosslyn stations.

Also as part of the change, more trains will be added to Metro’s Orange line between the West Falls Church and Largo Town Center stations.

Officials say the changes will increase service to popular rush-hour destinations, benefiting an estimated 108,000 riders.

The changes also come as the transit agency is looking to improve service ahead to the opening of the new Silver line to Dulles International Airport.

“The Blue and Yellow line realignment is meant to address peak period crowding and service reliability at the Rosslyn Metrorail station, realign service to better match ridership and transition to the future Dulles rail extension,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles.

Some 5,000 Metrorail system maps will need to be reprinted,  2,600 station signs redone, and more than 1,200 fare chartswill need to be reprinted.

New schedules should be out months ahead of the service change, but officials on Thursday did not say how much these new changes would cost Metro.

News
Weather Watches and Warnings

Update 6:52 p.m.
The NWS reports Sever Thunderstorm Warning issued March 10 at 6:26 p.m. EST expiring March 10 at 7:17p.m. EST for Stafford, Prince William, and Fairfax counties.

Update 5:30 p.m.
A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Stafford County until 6:15 p.m.

Update 3:30 p.m.
A flood warning is in effect for the Potomac Communities until 9 p.m.

The National Weather Service says a line of heavy showers is moving through the area and streams and creeks are rising toppling their banks.

Forecasters say the rains we’ve experienced today should make rivers crest tonight at two to three feet above normal.

Original Post 1:40 p.m.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Stafford County until 8 p.m.

Thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon bringing heavy rain and wind to the area.

Stay with PotomacLocal.com for up to date weather information.

News
Rivers Expected to Rise 2-3 Feet Above Normal

Signs like this one at the corner of Shelton Shop and Mountain View roads were placed all around the area today warning drivers of high water on the roads. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

A coastal flood warning is in effect until 3 a.m. as area rivers, creeks and streams are expected to crest two to three feet above flood stage tonight.

It’s been raining in the Potomac Communities since last night, and the rain is forecast to continue to fall throughout the evening. In some places, thunderstorms could bring heavier rain and wind before 3 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says they’re ready for flooding throughout the area.

They’ve put up warning signs and barrels to warn drivers of potential road closures if flood waters rise.

Multiple locations on U.S. 1, spots on Mountain View, Shelton Shop, Winding Creek and River roads in Stafford County, just to name a few, have been marked with warning signs, said VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.

According to VDOT’s “super-powerful travel information” website, there are no road closures in the Potomac Communities just before noon.

On Wednesday, Prince William County Public Schools warned some school buses may be delayed if flood waters rise in the Dumfries area.

When it’s all said and done, forecasters expect to see about three inches or more of rainfall across the area. All of it comes after a weekend of soaking rain that left the ground saturated.

The weather improves Friday, with partly sunny skies in the forecast.

Traffic
Metro Will Build Bus Garage in Lorton

Lorton, Va. –– A new Metro bus lot will be built in Lorton.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week approved a new bus storage facility on Cinderbed Road at the intersection of Newington Road.

The site is in an industrial area and was once home to a concrete plant.

The new facility will replace a 65-year-old Metrobus storage garage in Old Town Alexandria, reports the Alexandria Gazette Packet.

The site will accommodate 160 buses, parking for 300 Metro employees and a natural gas refueling station.

Bus drivers exiting and entering the facility would mostly use streets in the Lorton area to get where they are going.

Nearby the site is the Lorton branch of the DMV and a warehouse for potato chip maker Frito Lay.

News
Around Town

Rapphannock might flood
Were you planning on going boating on the Rappahannock River today? You might think again as a flood warning has been issued for the river, as it is expected to crest above flood stage on Friday morning, Fredericksburg.com reports.

Police surprised about rape suspect’s demeanor
Detectives who caught the alleged East Coast Rapist say they are surprised by their suspect’s demeanor. They were expecting a combative man, but what they have is a calm, collected man who they say appears to be weak, The Washington Post reports.

Remembering a friend lost to cancer
A group of friends banded together last weekend to remember and to hold a relay for life for a Gar-Field Senior High School graduate and former UVA student who died of cancer in 2009, Insidenova.com reports.

Rappahannock

Traffic
With Rain, VRE Delays Could Pile Up This Week

A Virginia Railway Express train pulls into the Woodbridge station. (File Photo: Mary Davidson)

Heavy rain could mean delays on Virginia Railway Express on Thursday.

The transit agency is warning riders who use the Fredericksburg line if flood restrictions are put in place trains could be delayed anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Flood restrictions require VRE trains on the line require trains to travel at 40 mph, and while trains may depart Fredericksburg on time they will encounter delays further up the line, said VRE spokeswoman April Maguigad.

Delays on the Manassas line tomorrow could be even worse, as flood restrictions could put commuters behind anywhere between an hour and 90 minutes.

Right now, the plan for tomorrow morning is to run trains on time. But a flood watch will go into effect at 6 p.m., and forecasters at the National Weather Service say up to three inches of rain could fall on top of saturated ground left behind by last weekend’s rainfall.

Word of delays also comes as VRE riders have already experienced long delays this week.

This morning on Fredericksburg line train 304, passengers were delayed because of speed restrictions.

On Tuesday morning, riders were slowed by signal problems and because one of VRE’s locomotives failed at VRE’s Brooke station.

News
Victim Found on Train Tracks Identified

Lorton, Va. –– Police have identified the man who was struck by at train in Lorton.

Investigators say 46-year-old Kevin E. Eversburg is the victim in the apparent accident.

He has no fixed address and the family has been notified, said police.

Investigators found Eversburg’s remains on Saturday and said then they do not expect foul play in his death.

Police said Eversburg was most likely walking alongside the tracks when we was struck, possibly sometime last week.

A railroad employee spotted Eversburg’s remains on Saturday and called police.

News
Around Town

Dumfries says no to Islamic school
Dumfries recently told an Islamic community center they could not build a school in the town, reports NBCWashington.com.

Schools look to eliminate 60 positions
In a new plan to fund Stafford County Public Schools in the upcoming year, new schools superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges has presented a budget will eliminate 60 positions through attrition and save $7.2 million, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Streetcar on stage
Northern Virginia Community College’s student newspaper, NOVAFortnightly, reports on a recent showing of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

News
Rain Brings Flood Concerns

High water on Sunday forced the closure of one southbound lane of U.S. 1 in the Potomac Hills area of Stafford County. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

If you thought it was wet, rainy and raw around here Sunday wait until tomorrow night.

A flood watch will go into effect beginning Wednesday night and will last until Thursday night, as up to three inches of rain could fall across the Potomac Communities, according to the National Weather Service.

All of that rain could cause creeks and streams to rise from their beds, and it’s coming after the area was soaked with rain Sunday.

Ahead of the storm, the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue has issued a warning: Don’t drive through standing water.

“All too often, victims underestimate the power and force of the water which can result in deadly incidents — the second highest percentage of flood-related deaths,” stated Prince William fire and rescue spokeswoman Kim Hylander.

Officials urge residents to fuel their cars prior to the storm, and to have extra batteries on hand, a flashlight, a manual can opener and non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, rubber gloves and additional clothing.

If the water level begins to rise near your home, seek higher ground and avoid low-lying areas like basement’s underground parking garages and underpasses, said Hylander.

Prince William fire and rescue has offered more flood tips on their website.

Traffic
Suicidal Man, Crash Lead to U.S. 1 Delays

Fairfax Connector

Mt. Vernon, Va. –– A man who threatened to jump from an old railway bridge and car crash caused massive delays on U.S. 1 in south Fairfax County on Monday.

At 5:30 p.m., police were called to the area of Belvoir Court and U.S. 1, just north of the Fairfax County Parkway intersection, where a man threatened to jump from an unused railroad bridge that used to serve the Ft. Belvoir garrison.

Police closed the road to traffic in both directions as crisis intervention teams worked with the man, said Fairfax police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.

After two hours, officers were able to talk the man down from the bridge. No one was injured and no charges were filed in the incident.

Earlier that afternoon about 4:30, a two car crash on U.S. 1 at Old Mill Road in the Mt. Vernon area also snarled traffic.

No one was seriously injured and crews had the mess cleaned up shortly after 5 p.m.

But the damage to Monday’s commute had been done.

Late last night, Fairfax Connector buses were reporting long delays on the 171 line, which runs between Lorton, Franconia-Springfield and the Huntington Metro stations.

Traffic in once again moving in the area without incident.

News
Around Town

A door inside Stafford High School is broken.

State wants rape lawsuit dropped
Virginia has asked that a $10 million lawsuit filed after student at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg be dropped. Fredericksburg.com reports the state says all preventable actions to protect the student were taken.

Popeye’s murderer gets life
The man who shot and killed a manager at a Popeye’s restaurant in Smoketown Plaza during a robbery there will spend the rest of his life in jail, Insidenova.com reports.

Activities to keep children busy this summer
Looking for something your child can do this summer? Fairfax County Public Schools has posted its list of summer activities.

Traffic
Fairfax Connector Buses Delayed After Crash

Update 8:40 p.m.
Fairfax Connector buses are running behind schedule in the Mt. Vernon area tonight following a crash on U.S. 1.

The Richmond Highway route 171 bus is experiencing major delays – the route that carries riders between Lorton, Franconia-Springfield Metro and the Huntington Metro stations.

Also experiencing delays at this hour are Fairfax Connector routes 151, 152, 159, 161 and 162.

All of the delays are attributed to the crash earlier this afternoon, said Fairfax County transportation spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis.

Fairfax County police this afternoon said those involved in the two car crash suffered injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.

We’ll bring you more on this as it develops.

Original Post 4 p.m.
Mt. Vernon, Va. ––
All lanes of U.S. 1 in the Mt. Vernon area are back open following a crash.

Police were called to investigate a two-car accident that occurred about 3:30 p.m. in the 8800 block of Richmond Highway, near Old Mill Road.

No one was injured, but the investigation prompted the closure of one southbound lane, according to Fairfax County police.

The lane was reopened just before 4 p.m. and police called for a wrecker to removed at least one of the damaged vehicles.

News
Tip Leading to Alleged Rapist Arrest Came From Md.

Prince William County, Va. –– At least 12 rape cases have been linked to the man police call the East Coast Rapist.

One of those cases the suspect is linked to, believed to be the most recent case, happened in Dale City on Halloween night 2009.

Police say Aaron H. Thomas, now 39, approached three female teenagers while they were walking home from a night of trick-or-treating.

Thomas used a gun forced them into a wooded area and then raped two 17-year-old girls while a 16-year-old girl watched helplessly.

The 16-year-old used her phone to summon help, police said. By the time police arrived that night, the suspect had fled the area, said police.

Late last month, police put up billboards with sketches of the suspect and launched a website will details on each of the 17 cases the East Coast Rapist is suspected to have carried out.

Last Monday, a tip came into police from Prince Georges County, Md. – the place where police say Thomas took his first victim in 1997 – identifying Thomas as the suspect, police said.

Thomas, now in Connecticut, was followed by investigators and DNA from a cigarette later matched DNA collected in 12 of the reported rapes, police said.

Thomas was arrested at his home in New Haven, Conn. on Friday.

Police in Prince William County have charged him with two counts of Rape, three counts of abduction, and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, police said Monday at a press conference in Manassas.

According to records, Thomas lived on Bonita Court in Dale City from 2000 to 2007.

DNA evidence has tied Thomas to the following cases, police say:
Feb. 19, 1997        Forestville, MD
Aug. 20, 1997        Suitland, MD
July 3, 1998        Temple Hills, MD
Jun.19, 1999        Alexandria, VA
Jan. 13, 2000        Alexandria, VA
Nov. 20, 2000        Alexandria, VA
May 24, 2001        Leesburg, VA
Aug. 16, 2001        Temple Hills, MD
Dec. 28, 2001        Alexandria, VA
Nov. 28, 2006        Cranston, RI
Jan. 10, 2007        New Haven, CT
Oct. 31, 2009        Woodbridge, VA

News
Arrests Made in Playground Fire

Lorton, Va. –– Fairfax investigators say they now know who burned a playground in Lorton to the ground.

Four juveniles have been charged in connection to the Feb. 19 fire set at the Levelle Dupelle Community Park in the 6800 block of Newington Road.

All four have been charged with destruction of property, and two teens face additional charges of vehicle tampering, police said.

Additionally, one of the juveniles was also charged with grand larceny.

Three of the juveniles live in the Hayfield area of Fairfax County and one was from Virginia Beach.

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