WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Gas Prices Rise Amid Overseas Worries

Stafford resident Jerome Thomas filled up his V8 Toyota Tundra at the WaWa station on Garrisonville Road, and said he was not happy about rising gas prices. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

The last time gas prices spiked like this was following Hurricane Katrina, AAA Mid Atlantic says.

Fuel prices in the region continued their upward climb over the weekend forcing drivers to pay more to get where they’re going.

Today, the price to fill up a 15-gallon gallon gas tank at stations in North Stafford will cost you $51.21 on average.

Most gas prices in North Stafford average $3.41 per gallon, but according to AAA Mid Atlantic’s Gas Price Finder, the most expensive gas in the Stafford area is at the Shell station on Courthouse Road (Va. 630).

In Woodbridge, the price goes up an average of $52.72 to fill a 15-gallon gas tank.

Fuel prices in the area are averaging $3.51 per gallon, but the most expensive gas in Woodbridge is at a BP station at 13400 Jefferson Davis Highway, at $3.55 per gallon, according to the Gas Price Finder.

In Lorton, the price rises again to $53.15 to fill up a 15-gallon gas tank.

The average price for fuel here is $3.54 per gallon, but the most expensive gas is at Southern Maryland Oil at 8225 Gunston Cove Road.

This time last year, the average price to fill a 15-gallon tank in the Potomac Communities cost residents $39.71.

The high prices at the pump come as the price of a barrel of oil broke the $100 mark last week, settling at $102.23 a barrel.

“The national average gas price jumped 18 cents this week and 31 cents over the past two weeks, driven by soaring crude oil prices in response to continued unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as speculation that such uprisings will spread to other oil heavyweights in the region. Prices at the pump are in a state of flux right now, surpassing the $3.50 a gallon benchmark this weekend and heading higher as crude oil prices continue to climb, said AAA Mid Atlantic spokesman John Townsend.”

And it’s not going to get any easier at the pump any time soon.

Gas prices are projected to rise above $3.75 per gallon by April, AAA predicts.

Around Town

Shiloh Baptist Church, Mason Neck, Va.

Feds cut funding to telework centers
The federal government announced it will no longer fund a telework center in Woodbridge and several others like it, stating with the advent of cell phones and mobile computers federal workers no longer need a room of computers to get work done, reports the Washington Post.

New restaurants coming to George Mason
The list of restaurant’s at George Mason’s Fairfax Campus continues to grow, and will soon include an Einstein Brothers Bagels, Red Mango and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, reports George Mason’s BroadSide.

Dog rescued from Potomac River
Fire crews were called last week to rescue a dog that was stuck on a ledge on the Potomac River off Marlborough Point in Stafford  County. While the owners of the dog said they don’t know how it got there, they are sure glad to have the dog home, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Flood Restrictions Lifted After Slow VRE Commute

Update 7:30 a.m. Monday
Woodbirdge, Va. –– All flash flood restrictions on have been lifted on Virginia Railway Express lines.

But passengers this morning from Fredericksburg to Manassas had to deal with problems created by yesterday’s rain.

About 4:30 a.m., drivers headed to the Bull Run station at Manassas Regional Airport found out the access road to the station, Piper Lane, had been flooded out. The transit agency told drivers to find an alternate route to the station.

On the Fredericksburg line, flood restrictions would slow trains from Woodbridge to Washington.

Riders at the Woodbridge station would also have to contend with a non-working elevator at the station.

Special needs passengers who needed to find alternate means of transportation were asked to call a taxi to take them to work, to save the receipt, and then to give it to VRE for reimbursement.

The transit agency warned last night Sunday’s rains could create delays, as the rail lines run along creeks and stream beds.

Initially this morning VRE anticipated no delays, but as time wore on they issued more and more emails to riders detailing each new found situation and reason for delay.

Original Post 9:10 p.m. Sunday
Virginia Railway Express officials are watching weather conditions closely.

As of Sunday night, there was one active flood restriction, between the Alexandria and L’Enfant stations, that if left in place through the morning could slow trains.

Some of the delays on the system’s Fredericksburg line could be between 30 and 45 minutes and up to one hour on the Manassas line, according to VRE officials.

The transit system said they would “keep our fingers crossed” the rain would not cause significant delays for Monday morning’s commute.

A flood warning was issued for the region Sunday afternoon into the evening hours.

It was set to expire at 9:30 p.m.

For much of the day Sunday, a deluge of rain caused water to pond on portions of U.S. 1 in North Stafford, forcing the closure of the southbound right lane just south of Boswells Corner.

Flood Warning Extended

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)

Update 7 p.m.
The National Weather Service has extended the flood warning for the Potomac Communities until 9:30 p.m.

Update 5:30 p.m.
One lane of U.S. 1 south is closed in the Potomac Hills area in North Stafford.

A fire and rescue vehicle from the Potomac Hills Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department was sitting in the right southbound lane of U.S. 1, just south of Boswell’s Corner, preventing drivers from traveling through a large pool of water that formed on the highway.

In addition to the vehicle, officials also used bright orange cones to alert drivers to the lane closure.

Update 4 p.m.
A flood warning has been issued for the Potomac Communities this afternoon.

Heavy rain continues to fall across the region and will continue through the evening, according to forecasters.

The flood warning will expire at 6:30 p.m., however, the weather service says the heavy rains could last through 9 p.m.

Rain is falling right now at a quarter inch per hour, the weather service says.

Water has been reported covering roadways and flowing out of stream banks throughout the region, prompting the warning.

Drivers are encouraged not to drive through high water.

Original Post 9:50 a.m.
Rain and thunderstorms in the forecast have prompted a flood watch for the region today.

Rainfall could be heavy at times today, as three quarters of an inch could fall across the Potomac Communities, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain should continue through 9 p.m. with another quarter to a half inch of rain forecasted to fall.

Temperatures will remain warmer than average near the 60 degree mark.

On Monday, expect sunnier skies with temperatures in the more seasonable in the low 50s.

Body Found Along Train Tracks

Lorton, Va. –– A body has been found along the railroad tracks in Lorton.

Police were called about 10:40 a.m. after a railroad employee who spotted human remains near Pohick Road overpass and Interstate 95.

The victim has not been identified, but police say a train had recently struck the victim.

“Because we do not suspect foul play, we have our accident reconstruction team working on the investigation,” said Fairfax County police spokesman Bud Walker.

A commuter lot and a shopping center are located nearby where the victim’s remains were found.

Police say there is a lot of foot traffic in the area.

Lorton is home to Amtrak’s Auto Train, which transports passengers and their cars between Lorton and Sanford, Fla.

Sexual Assault Reported in Lorton

Lorton, Va. –– A woman about to enter her home screamed after being sexually assaulted, police say.

Police in Lorton were called to the 8500 block of Koulder Court, off Southrun Road, just before midnight Thursday after a 28-year-old said a strange man appeared out of nowhere and touched her inappropriately, police said.

Investigators said the man grabbed her from behind and then touched her, but ran off after she screamed for help.

The victim did not suffer injuries, said police.

The man is described as black with a light complexion, in his mid-20s to early 30s, with a medium build, brown eyes and a wide nose.

He was wearing a white t-shirt, jeans, white tennis shoes and a red bandanna on his head, police say.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Fairfax County Crime Solvers.

Accused Rapist Lived in Dale City

Update 10:30 a.m. Saturday
The man arrested and charged in the case of the East Coast Rapist used to live in Dale City.

Rental records show 49-year-old Aaron H. Thomas lived on Bonita Court, off Brooke Drive in the Birchdale section of Dale City from 2000 until 2007.

Records also show he attended school in Prince Georges County, and The Washington Post reported Friday Thomas still has family who live in the Berryville, Va. area.

Thomas was arrested Friday afternoon in Connecticut after an investigator observed him smoking a cigarette. Suspicious, police picked up that cigarette but and swabbed it for DNA, the Post reported.

That same DNA was later matched to DNA collected at some of the 17 rapes Thomas has been connected to.

Original Post 4:20 p.m.
TBD reports a suspect in the East Coast Rapist case has been arrested in Connecticut.

The suspect’s name has not been released, but he  was taken into custody about 3 p.m. Friday, TBD.com reports.

Word of the arrest come the same week as authorities launched a digital billboard campaign looking for clues into the case.

Investigators also launched a website detailing each attack the tied to the suspected rapist over the past 14 years.

The latest attack was reported on Halloween night 2009, when three teenage girls were walking home from a night of trick-or-treating when a man approached them with a gun, raped two of them while the other looked on.

Police have tied the rapist to 17 attacks on women along the east coast.

The attacks began in Maryland in 1997.

3 Wanted in Fairfax

Fairfax County police are looking for three people they say did not appear on their scheduled court dates. Now they’re asking for the public’s help to find them.

Jose Arnoldo Guzman, 41, is wanted for failing to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and on three charges of violation of a protective order, police said.

He is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Marie Crystal Carter, 29, is wanted for failing to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on February 16, police said. She is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, 130 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Authorities say Anderson was driving in the area of Braddock and Burke Lake roads on December 4 when she was charged.

She is described as 5 feet 1 inch tall, 135 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these individuals should contact Fairfax County Crime Solvers.

Around Town

Teacher pleads guilty to molesting student
A former Manassas high school teacher plead guilty yesterday to molesting a student and charges of possessing child pornography, ensuring he will spend time in prison, The Washington Post reports.

Plan to move students scaled back
Stafford school officials are changing their plans to move students out of four elementary schools, leaving parents to rest a bit easier, Fredericksburg.com reports.

Dr. Seuss Academy
Which school in the area really takes what would have been Dr. Seuss’ 107th Birthday seriously? Triangle Elementary School did, as students there paraded around wearing the Cat in the Hat’s signature hats, says Prince William County Public Schools.

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