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Archive for November 18th, 2012

Woman Suffers Smoke Inhalation in Fire

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A woman was taken to a hospital suffering smoke inhalation Sunday night.

Volunteer fire and rescue crews were called to a single-family home on Grayson Road in Woodbridge at 8:42 p.m. A caller to 911 reported seeing smoke at the house, said OWL Volunteer Fire Department spokeswoman Rebecca Barnes.

One unidentified woman was pulled from the house and taken to a local hospital, and her condition was not released.

Late Sunday evening, Barnes said she is the only occupant confrimed to live inside the home. Crews at 11 p.m. Sunday remained at the scene of the fire mopping up the mess.

A Prince William County fire marshal has been called to the scene to investigate the cause of the blaze, said Barnes.


View Fire on Grayson Rd. in a larger map

Cleaning Lady Attacked Inside Hotel Room

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A woman was attacked this morning as she was cleaning a Woodbridge hotel room.

Now police are looking for the man in this surveillance photo and have released a statement about the attack at an Econo Lodge on Gordon Boulevard:

Abduction | Assault & Battery – On November 18th at 9:20AM, police responded to the Econo Lodge located at 13317 Gordon Blvd in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate an abduction and assault involving an employee.

The victim, a 39 year old woman, reported to police that she was cleaning one of the rooms when an unknown man walked inside the room and closed the door. At that point, the man grabbed the victim however, she was able to defend herself causing the suspect to flee.

No injuries were reported. Surveillance video at the motel was provided to police which showed the suspect involved. This incident is not related to the attempted abduction reported on the 17th at the Roadway Inn.


Black male, between 28 & 35 years of age, 5’11”, 200lbs with a mustache and earring in his left ear

Last seen wearing black, zip-up hooded sweatshirt, black jeans and a black watch cap

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.

 Police are also investigating another Woodbridge hotel where a woman was nearly abducted while walking her dog

Police to Drivers: Don’t Back Up on HOT Lanes

If you’re driving the Capital Beltway from Springfield to Tysons Corner tomorrow, your commute is going to look much different.

The 495 Express Lanes — those High Occupancy Toll or HOT lanes we’ve been hearing about for so long —  opened for the first time on Saturday to traffic. That means those with three or more inside a vehicle can ride the lanes for free with an E-Z Pass Flex transponder. Single drivers must pay a toll to use the lanes, and can use a traditional E-Z Pass or E-Z Pass Flex.

Virginia State Police report four accidents – two of them with non-life threatening injuries to those involved – since the lanes opened this weekend at the northbound entrance to the lanes just after the Springfield mixing bowl.

In a press release Sunday night, police urged commuters to pay attention to lane configurations, and if you get into the wrong lane, don’t back up.

Plan Ahead. As northbound motorists come upon the change in traffic patterns at the Express Lanes entrance, they are swerving or making sudden lane changes to avoid the toll lanes. This has been the cause of all four crashes, where drivers swerved, lost control and crashed into other vehicles and/or the cement barriers/Jersey walls.

Don’t stop or back up. Drivers are also stopping or backing up in an attempt to avoid the Express Lanes and to get into the general purpose lanes. Drivers should never stop or back up on an interstate. If you accidentally find yourself in the Express Lanes or are unable to safely merge into the general purpose lanes, then just keep going in the Express Lanes. Take the first exit and then go to and pay the toll online. Backing up or stopping puts you at risk of causing a crash and being seriously injured or killed.

Virginia State Police have spent the weekend working with VDOT and Transurban to assess and improve signage to warn northbound I-495 motorists of the upcoming lane changes. Additional markings are also being planned for the immediate area to aid motorists.

Two-axle vehicles only. Motorists are also advised that only two-axle vehicles are permitted in the I-495 Express Lanes. Tractor-trailers, passenger vehicles pulling trailers and other vehicles with more than two-axles are prohibited from using the new toll lanes.

The new toll lanes are patrolled by Virginia State Police 24-hours a day. They warn drivers who enter lanes without an E-Z Pass will be fined.

Drivers with two or more occupants in the car who have not switched their E-Z Pass Flex from single driver mode to HOV mode will also be charged the posted toll to use the lanes.


School Questions Swamp Budget Session

Contributing Editor

I attended the latest in a series of fiscal year 2014 budget information meetings on Saturday at the Prince William County Government Center.

I always enjoy watching budget director Michelle Casiato’s mastery of the process. Prince William has three Triple A bond ratings and has won numerous awards for their budgeting process. I understand that the process is “bullet proof.” I also understand that the process has nothing to do with how much money Prince William County collects or what the government spends it on.

All things considered, I’m not sure if I take comfort in knowing that they are incredibly efficient at both ends of the process.

First, let’s get the important stuff out of the way. Casiato provided coffee and doughnuts. The coffee was excellent (which is unusual for stuff you get at government meetings) and the doughnuts were Dunkin, so this meeting was off to an excellent start.

Deputy County Executive Chris Martino was also in attendance and assured me that the coffee and donuts were not paid for with taxpayer dollars. My mind put at ease, I enjoyed two of them.

Dave Cline, Associate Superintendent for Finance & Support Services, Prince William County Schools, also joined us. He may reconsider ever returning to one of these meetings. The entire almost two hours was devoted to questions about sharing, maintaining, and paying for school system sports fields.

Topics also included the history, pros and cons, and future of the county’s current revenue sharing agreement with the School Board, student populations, school district planning and boundaries, construction projects, and the school board budget cycle.

Wallingford (as we say in the military) requited himself well under fire. He answered a broad range of questions without hesitation or assistance for the duration of the meeting. Two thumbs up.

I really don’t remember any questions about Prince William County’s budget during this meeting, although Casiato did provide detail and background on questions about the School Board budget.

It was also round one on Community interest in what happens to approximately half of the revenue collected by Prince William County, or that the 56.75 percent as provided in the existing revenue sharing agreement between the county’s Board of Supervisors and its School Board.

We may have ignored the School Board budget in the past; however, those days are over.

We’ll be back.

I grabbed a fresh cup of coffee and a doughnut on the way out the door. This was a good meeting.

Addendum: Thanks to John Wallingford for showing up today. He didn’t have to. He was a good sport, handled a variety of levels of frustration with aplomb and a sense of humor, and was generally a group pleaser.

*This post has been corrected