Covering the Greater Prince William County, Virginia Area

Woodbridge Local

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Army eyes surplus VRE equipment

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

The Army is interested in purchasing surplus rail equipment from Virginia Railway Express.

According to a Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation spokesman, the Army plans to transport soldiers from Ft. AP Hill in Bowling Green to Ft. Lee in Petersburg twice a week for 37 weeks each year, and they want to do it by rail.

Obtaining suplus equipment from  the commuter rail agency appears to be a viable option for the Army.

The Army’s request comes as VRE has seen explosive growth in ridership over the past two years and when the agency is looking to add two new trains on the its Fredericksburg line, according to comments from VRE chairman Paul Milde, made at commuter railroad’s June officials meeting. (more…)

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Crashes cause southbound delays

A head-on crash has forced the closure of U.S. 1 in Triangle.

Just before 4:30 p.m., a Ford F-150 collided with a sports car just south of the Marine Corps Museum. Fire and rescue units were called, but it appears no one was seriously hurt.

Police closed the northbound portion of the road due to the crash and the southbound side of the road, already full of cars, experienced even longer delays. (more…)

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Woman charged after car gets stuck on 95

A driver exchanges information with a state trooper after her car became stuck on I-95.

Trying to skirt a traffic back-up on Interstate 95 didn’t pay for a Fairfax woman.

When the 28-year-old female driver of a tan sedan tried to bail out of heavy traffic on the southbound lanes in Woodbridge she hit a ditch and got stuck after sometime after 2 p.m. Friday.

The woman used a gravel median just south of Prince William Parkway, trying to make a break for the less-congested express lanes, said Virginia State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Now stuck, the woman could be seen through a Virginia Department of Transportation traffic camera sitting in her seat looking around for help, but no one stopped. (more…)

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Blackberry with private medical records stolen

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Prince William County officials say someone got a hold of a Blackberry containing medical records for more than 600 residents.

The mobile device was stolen between June 18 and 19, from a car parked at the home of a county employee.

Officials reported the theft for the first time Thursday morning.

The Blackberry holds medical information for approximately 669 residents, as well as their names, Social Security Numbers, credit card information, addresses and phone numbers.

The data is stored on the device’s hard drive, officials said.

Each of the affected individuals have been notified by county employees. They were encouraged to contact their banks and credit reporting agencies, and told not to confirm personal information to anyone over the phone to avoid possible identity theft or credit scams.

The county’s police department is looking into the case, but so far has not released a statement. It’s not yet clear when officials or police were made aware of the theft.

We’ll have more on this story when we get it.

Information from insidenova.com.

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Woodbridge gas leak contained

WOODBRIDGE – Crews worked Tuesday night to contain a gas leak in a Woodbridge neighborhood.

Fire and Rescue crews were called to the 1200 block of East Longview Drive about 8:30 p.m. for a report of a leaking one-inch gas main.

No one was evacuated, but officials did close a portion of the two lane street, near Marumsco Acres Park, according to initial reports.

The gas leak was later capped Wednesday morning by crews from Washington Gas, said Prince William Fire and Rescue Department spokeswoman Kim Hylander.

This story was featured on insidenova.com.

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Road rage trial dates set

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Two men involved in a road rage incident that left 13 rounds fired at a dump truck on Interstate 95 in Woodbridge have been indicted.

The trial for Gabriel Poventud, 25, of 15192 Bannon Way in Woodbridge, begins Dec. 28. He is charged with attempted murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, shooting at an occupied vehicle and reckless handling of a firearm.

The second man charged in the road rage incident, James A. Bingham, 44, of 3713 Cordell Avenue in Woodbridge, will have his day in court Jan. 4. He faces charges of attempted murder and reckless driving. (more…)

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Crews working gas leak

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A gas leak at a single family home in Woodbridge has got the attention of rescue personnel.

Gas company officials were called and fire and rescue personnel used to control the scene in the 1200 block of East Longview Drive in Woodbridge just after 8:30 p.m., after someone reported a gas leak.

No one has been evacuated from their homes, but several blocks of the two lane thoroughfare have been closed traffic, according to initial reports.

The homes affected by the reported two-inch gas line rupture sit near Marumsco Acres Park, between Lamar Road and Melbourne Avenue.

We’ll have more on this story when we get it.

This story appeared on insidenova.com.

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Girl pinned in crash still in pain

Rulla Andress watches police investigate the crash that injured her daughter.

WOODBRIDGE, Va.—Michaela Andress had to go to Fairfax Inova Hospital again Monday, four days after she was flown there after being struck by a van in Woodbridge.

The 15-year-old girl suffered a broken pelvic bone after the driver of a Chevrolet Astro van backed into her as she was getting out of a medical transport van Thursday in front of an orthodontist’s office on Optiz Boulevard. Michaela was going there to have her braces adjusted. She and her mother often take the medical van to the girl’s appointments because her mother doesn’t drive.

The medical van stopped in the middle of the parking lot that morning, blocking other vehicles that had parked in the lot. One of those blocked was the Astro, and when the driver backed out, she pinned Michaela between both vehicles.

That driver was going to pick up her father at their home in the Southbridge neighborhood to bring him back to a nearby doctor’s office for an appointment. Her cell phone rang as she was backing out, and she looked to see who was calling but didn’t take the call. (more…)

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Girl, 15, hit by van outside dentist office

Rulla Andress watches police investigate the crash that injured her daughter.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Michaela never made it to the dentist Thursday to get her braces adjusted.

The 15-year-old girl and her mother, Rulla Andress, rode a medical transport van to her dentist’s office, in the 2200 block of Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge.

When Michaela got out of the large, Dodge van, she was struck by a Chevrolet Astro van that was backing out of its parking space.

Michaela’s mother said her daughter laid on the ground, screaming in pain after she was hit.

The driver of the medical van called 911, he said, and Michaela was flown to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries.

Police have not said how serious Michaela’s injuries are or if anyone has been charged.

“She’s just the perfect child,” said Andress, holding back tears and smoking a cigarette as she watched the helicopter that had her daughter inside fly over the crash scene, on its way to the hospital. (more…)

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Residents asked to conserve power

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The increase in temperatures prompted a local power company to demand on Wednesday that residents decrease their use of air conditioners and household appliances.

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative issued an emergency declaration to its customers at 1:30 p.m., after energy demand on its power grid soared. People in 13 states and in Washington receive electricity from the grid.

The utility asked residents to reduce the amount of electricity used in their homes between 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. That meant turning up the in-home thermostat to 78 degrees, and not using household appliances like the stove, oven, dishwasher or clothes dryer until after sunset. (more…)

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Stafford, Woodbridge residents deal with heat

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Another hot day across the region meant more people turned to a local cooling shelter for relief.

Prince William officials in a statement issued early Wednesday urged residents without air-conditioning to get out of their homes and into county libraries and government buildings, all of which are air-conditioned. (more…)

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Fighter prepares for Florida match

Brian Van Hoven wrestles at his home gym in Woodbridge, preparing for his fight this weekend in Florida. (Photo: Mary Davidson)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — With his opponent’s undefeated record, Brian Van Hoven knows he has his work cut out for him.

The 35-year-old fighter, who stands at 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 155 pounds, boasts 5 wins and one loss, spent his Independence Day weekend working out in the gym before he steps into the ring this weekend in Orlando, Fla.

“Once he feels the power and my speed in my hands he is going to want to make it a wrestling match, and I am going to keep it on my feet, and I feel that my wrestling is going to be superior to his,” said Van Hoven.

The mixed martial arts, or MMA, fighter from Woodbridge will looking to add another win to his professional MMA record while facing Vinnie Samero on Saturday as part of World Extreme Fighting, where 20 fighters will face off at Florida’s Silver Spurs Arena.

One year younger than Van Hoven, Samero stands 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 155 pounds, has never lost during his pro career and hails from Orlando – making him the hometown hero, said Van Hoven. (more…)

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Dale City neighborhood gets storm drain labels

DALE CITY, Va. — The Prince William Clean Community Council, a local nonprofit organization in Woodbridge, led volunteers for “Week of Hope,” a volunteer effort to label more than 80 storm drains in Dale City’s Lindendale neighborhood.

Volunteers started during the early morning hours of June 24th and walked each street, labeling every storm drain in their path as part of a national effort to raise awareness about pollution in storm drains. (more…)

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Across Town: Get free Chick-fil-A on Friday

 

Incoming Stafford Rotary President Mike Vrabel accepts awards during a ceremony held June 26. (Submitted photo)

A look at neighborhood and business notes from the Potomac communities.

Stafford Rotary racks up awards

The Garrisonville – North Stafford Rotary Club racked up recently at an awards banquet last month. The club was honored with the Significant Achievement Award at the Rotary Club 7610 awards June 26. The award is given each year to only one club in the district, according to a press release.

The club was also awarded with a Rotary Presidential and Governor’s citations, the press release stated.

More than 20 Rotary Club members were also recognized for their work.

Rotary International, whose motto is “service above self,” has more than 1.2 million members in more than 33,000 clubs in 200 countries, according to the organization. (more…)

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House fire, sinking boat keep fire crews busy

UPDATE: The two boaters that were inside a boat that was taking on water on the Potomac River on Saturday afternoon made it to shore before rescue crews arrived, said Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department Chief Jim McAllister.

Initial reports indicated the boat was sinking in the area of Quantico Creek and that the two had to be rescued from the boat.

No one was injured. (more…)

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Bus fares to rise next week

Get ready to shell out more change to ride buses in Prince William County.

Starting July 6, fares on all Potomac and Rappahannock Transportataion Commission buses will go up, meaning that bus riders will pay more to get to work or to ride around town. (more…)

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Missing Alzheimer’s patient found

Sehyuk Kwon, 68, was found Wednesday in Fairfax County after a police search.

UPDATE: A man who walked away from his home and prompted a massive police search was found in Fairfax County.

Sehyuk Kwon, 68, of the 2000 block of Germander Way in Lake Ridge, told his family he was going for a walk. He left his home at 2 p.m. Wednesday and when he didn’t return, his family called police.

Kwon suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and speaks very little English, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

With that in mind, officials asked for help by way of a Fairfax police helicopter, which hovered in the skies of Woodbridge searching for the man late Wednesday afternoon.

At 7 p.m., police found Kwon alive and well in the area of Va. 123 and Hampton Road, a full five miles from his home.

Police said he walked there, crossing the Occoquan River bridge, walking along a busy commuter route.

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Traffic and transit changes coming this weekend

Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. Photo: Mary Davidson

UPDATE: Virginia officials will lift restrictions on the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-95 and 395, between Dumfries and the Pentagon, on Monday.

Independence Day weekend will bring changes to commute patterns in our area.

Highways

On Interstates 95 and 395, the High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes will be open to southbound traffic from noon Friday until 2 p.m. Saturday.

The lanes will then be reversed for northbound traffic at 4 p.m. Saturday until 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

After a fireworks show on the National Mall in Washington, the HOV lanes will again be reversed at 9 p.m. (more…)

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Frustrated official: No money for U.S. 1 improvements

Questions are mounting about the widening of U.S. 1 between Stafford and Prince William counties. And they’re coming before an influx of federal workers is expected to relocate to Quantico Marine Corps Base in 2011.

The road is currently being widened from four to six lanes in Triangle, between Joplin and Brady’s Hill roads, as part of the planned Triangle Village near the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Improvements to the small stretch of road are being paid for by Prince William County taxpayers.

But it seems there won’t be any federal help when it comes to additional road improvements for the BRAC relocation to Quantico. (more…)

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Video: K9s steal the show at police expo

Renee Shelly lives in Stafford and is married to a Prince William County Police officer.

She knows her husband’s job working on immigration cases is a tough one, but community celebrations like the one Saturday in Woodbridge honoring the department’s 40th anniversary makes her entire family feel appreciated, she said.

“There is a lot of good support from the community out here and within this organization. Police officers take care of their own too, so we are glad to know we all have the support we need,” said Shelley.

In addition to taking care of their own, Prince William police have been taking care of the community since they began patrolling the streets on July 1, 1970.

This weekend, hundreds turned out for a birthday celebration where the community came to learn about the SWAT team, scuba team, forensics, crash investigations, and mounted, marine and K9 patrols.

The free event was so large it attracted visitors from other states.

“You don’t realize how many people protect you. There’s so much involved in all of the different areas of police work. My nephew has been waiting days to come see this,” said Liz Aleo from New Jersey.

And while it was police officers who were all smiles and shaking hands with visitors, the robot that does the job these officers can’t was also on hand.

Jason Kohl, a 14-year veteran with the department, spent the afternoon operating the remote control robot used by the SWAT team. It along with the artillery they use drew many visitors to their table.

“The turnout has been really nice. The SWAT team does a lot of demos, we do a lot of shows to show people the equipment that we have… certainly it nice opportunity to meet the public and show them what we do,” said Kohl.

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As police department turns 40, top cop comments

Prince William County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane to celebrate department's 40th anniversary.

The Prince William County Police Department will turn 40 next month and they want you to come and celebrate with them.

The party starts at 11 a.m. Saturday on the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza, behind the McCoart Building off Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. All of the usual outdoor family fun activities are planned, like a dunk tank, face painting, moon bounce and an appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog.

But those who are curious about how police officers do their jobs and those who want to know more about the tools they use will get a behind the scenes look. Scheduled to be on display is the major crimes and incident command unit, Command One, the SWAT team, scuba team, forensic unit, mounted patrol and Marine One – Prince William County’s watercraft patrol unit – just to name a few, according to the county police Web site.

Police equipment, old and new, will also be on display. And so will a chronology of major events in Prince William County’s history. They’ll also have a vintage county police cruiser on display.

The police department formed in July 1970, taking over major policing operations from the Prince William County Sheriff’s Department, said police chief Charlie T. Deane. He was promoted to chief in 1988 but was recruited to the force from the Virginia State Police the same year the department began, when the county’s population was just over 100,000 people.

“We were all very excited about embarking on a new segment of our careers and establishing a new department,” said Deane. “Back then we were all generalists. We had K9s and the motorcycles, but over time, because of the demand for the services we developed more specialization.”

Now nearly 400,000 people live in the county and the department in recent years has seen its fair share of tough cases, including the Lexie Glover case in 2009, the Smith murders in Dale City in 2008 and the Bobbit case in 1993, when at 26, Lorena Bobbit used a knife to sever her husband’s penis.

She was later found not guilty by reason of insanity. Her husband, John Wayne Bobbit, went on to star in a pornographic film after having the organ reattached.

*This story originally appeared on PotomacLocal.com on Wednesday June 23, 2010.

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