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Body recovered from burned car in Woodbridge park

From Prince William police: 

Suspicious Death Investigation – On March 15 at 7:47AM, officers responded to assist the Department of Fire & Rescue at Veterans Park located at 14300 Veterans Dr in Woodbridge (22191) with a vehicle fire. A citizen contacted the Public Safety Communications Center to report that a vehicle appeared to be on fire inside the park.

Fire crews responded and located the vehicle fully engulfed. When the fire was extinguished, fire crews located a body inside the vehicle and contacted police. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives from the Violent Crimes Bureau are currently investigating the cause of the victim’s death. The body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

The victim’s identity is not known at this time. This incident is currently under investigation by Prince William County police detectives and investigators from the Department of Fire & Rescue, Fire Marshal’s Office. More information will be released when available.

The investigation continues.

Exclusive: After a nearly 4-year delay, Potomac Shores will get its VRE station 

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Ryan Sawyers, Prince William County School Board Chairman, resigns

2:30 p.m. Prince William Democratic Committee issues statement

“Like most other people, we were surprised by Mr. Sawyers’ resignation this morning. We wish him well and hope he resolves the personal and professional concerns that caused him to come to this decision. It is our hope that his replacement is someone who shares our community values and will work with the other members of the School Board to place our children and their education first.”

11:45 a.m. School division issues statement

“School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers surprised PWCS Wednesday by posting announcement of his resignation on his personal Facebook page. He attributes the action to personal and professional reasons.

Under PWCS policies and the Virginia Code, Vice Chairman and Occoquan District Representative, Lillie Jessie, will perform the duties of the Chair, until the School Board appoints an Interim Chairman. Those duties are presiding over Board meetings, signing legal documents, as authorized by the Board, and leading agenda-setting meetings.

The Board Clerk is accepting applications for the interim position from any county resident who is a qualified voter. Since the School Board Chairman is elected at-large, applicants can come from any magisterial district. Interested candidates must submit their resumés to the Clerk of the School Board by March 17.

The Virginia Code requires the School Board to appoint an Interim Chairman within 45 days, otherwise the Circuit Court will make the appointment. The interim appointee will then perform all duties of the Chair, until the position is filled in a special vote, as part of the general election in November 2018.”

10:20 a.m. Gray announces his bid for chairman 

John Gray, a Lake Ridge-based CPA announces his bid to run for School Board Chairman when and if a special election is called. 

From an email: 

Uriah: I am announcing my intention to run for the Chair of the Prince William County School Board in the Special Election to be held in the near future.    

As Chair I will lead the Board to focus on addressing class size reductions, improving SOL scores, increasing teacher pay, improving ACT & SAT scores, fixing underperforming schools in low-income areas, putting resources into disabled children’s education, creatively expanding new school construction to increase student capacity at lower costs, getting to zero-based budgeting, and reducing costs by cutting overstaffed positions in the Kelly Leadership Center.  

Presently and bluntly, the School Board is in chaos. The School Board internally is in disarray within its ranks. It needs NEW, cohesive, decisive and non-political leadership. I have “lived, worked and played”  in PWC for thirty years now. I know our community and our County. Our four children graduated from PWC schools. I am a military veteran, having served in the USMC in 1969 to 1973. I am a Vietnam veteran. I am a self-employed CPA who business is located in Lake Ridge since 1989. I know the County Budget, I know the School Board budget. I know [Prince William County].”

Gray ran for the Occoquan District School Board seat in 2015 against Lilly Jessie. 

10:10 a.m. Prince William GOP: ‘Today is an answer to prayer for many Prince William residents ‘

Dottie Miller, Chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee, today made the following statement on the resignation of Prince William School Board Chair Ryan Sawyers:

“Today, we’re pleased that Democrat Ryan Sawyers has resigned from the School Board. Since Ryan was sworn in as chairman of the Prince William School Board on December 11, 2015, he has engaged in controversy after controversy. Whether it be school-naming fights, disrespect of Gil Trenum’s military service, law suit after law suit, or teacher intimidation and retaliation, Ryan Sawyers has been more partisan bully than education leader or consensus builder. Ryan Sawyers’ disastrous leadership is an example of what happens when overly-partisan Democrats are given responsibility of local governance. His leadership was so poor that it resulted in an historic bipartisan censure over ethics. Multiple Prince William leaders and residents have urged Sawyers to resign for more than a year; today is an answer to prayer for many Prince William residents who simply believe our children deserve better. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents want a School Board that is more focused on our students than their own political career. Hopefully now we can restore our School Board to a responsible governing board that is focused on education.”

9:30 a.m. 

The Prince William County School Board may request to hold a special election to replace Sawyers. 

The special election must be approved by a Circuit Court judge and cannot fall within 60 days of the upcoming June 12 Primary Election, said Matt Wilson, at the Prince William County Voter Registrar’s office.

9:20 a.m. 

The Prince William County Republican Committee will meet within the hour to discuss Sawyers resignation and the next steps. Multiple sources tell me Gainesville District School Board Member Alyson Satterwhite is being encouraged to seek the Chairman’s seat. 

“Alyson Satterwhite will make a great Chairman when elected,” said Willie Deutsch, the Coles District Representative on the School Board.

Satterwhite could not be reached for comment. 

Original post 9:08 a.m. 

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers resigned today. 

Sawyers posted this message on Facebook: 

 

His resignation today caught staff at the county’s school division headquarters by surprise. The school board is set to meet tonight at 7 p.m

Officials there plan to issue a statement later today. Vice Chairman Lillie Jessie told Potomac Local she will serve as chairman at tonight’s meeting.

The Democrat’s resignation comes about a week after he dropped out of his bid for the 1st Congressional seat now held by Republican Rob Wittman.

Sawyers was elected in 2105 and has long been embroiled in multiple lawsuits with school division personnel during his tenure as chairman.

Prior to him dropping out of his congressional race, he called for the resignation of Prince William County School Administrator Dr. Steven Walts after he was involved in a car crash while driving a car owned by the school division last fall. He accused Waltz of not reporting the crash, something Waltz denies. 

We’ll have more as it becomes available. 

Prince William Forest Park temporarily closed; Damage worse than Sandy

Prince William Forest Park in Triangle will be closed to visitors for at least the next two weeks following last weekend’s windstorm. 

From a press release: 

Fallen and hazardous trees, downed power lines and damage to historic cabin camps  from last week’s windstorm have prompted the National Park Service (NPS) to immediately close Prince William Forest Park to all use out of concern for public safety.

The park is expected to be closed for 2-3 weeks. After addressing the most immediate safety risks, crews will work strategically to begin reopening the most heavily used areas of the park. The Prince William Forest RV Campground on Rt. 234 remains open, but some areas within the campground are currently closed off.


“The safety of our visitors and staff is our absolute first priority,” Prince William Forest Park Superintendent Tanya Gossett said.  “Our crews are working with determination to clear hazardous trees from roads and trails and to replace electrical lines in campgrounds, cabin camps and picnic areas, so the public can safely enjoy the park.”

Damage caused by last weekend’s windstorm in Prince William Forest Park is significantly greater than other recent storms, including Hurricanes Isabel and Sandy and the 2012 derecho. Shallow-rooted trees, such as the Virginia pines throughout the park, have difficulty withstanding the 60-plus mph wind gusts the park experienced. Since Saturday, crews have removed about 500 trees from park roads.

“We are all eager to open the park again, but ask area residents and visitors to please respect these closures,” Gossett said. “If someone enters the park and gets hurt it will be extremely difficult to get them help and it will further delay reopening the park to all visitors.”

Police: Threat against Patriot teacher not credible

From police:  

Threats on School Grounds – On February 26 at 11:00AM, a School Resource Officer received information of a potential threat of violence against a Prince William County Public School teacher at Patriot High School located at 10504 Kettle Run Rd in Nokesville (20181). The investigation revealed that two students, a 14-year-old male and a 16-year-old male, communicated over the social media app “Snapchat” suggesting violence against a specific teacher at the school. The students also posted a picture of a suspected firearm that was later determined to be a BB gun. The officer subsequently located both students and quickly determined that the threat was not credible. Following the investigation, the officer obtained petitions for both students who were served and released back to the custody of a family member.

Charged on February 26:

A 16-year-old male of Bristow

A 14-year-old male of Gainesville

Both were charged with threats of serious bodily injury on school property

Court Date: Pending | Status: Released to the custody of a family member

The arrest happened on the same day Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard issued a statement on school safety: 

Prince William County Police Department Chief Barry Barnard

As the Nation continues to heal from the violence in Parkland, Florida last week, our hearts go out to the victims and their families.  

In this regard, I want to take this opportunity to address our community here in Prince William County about safety in our schools. I want to assure everyone that the safety of our schools, schoolchildren, and school staff is a responsibility that your Police Department takes very seriously. We have no greater calling.  

The Police Department has an outstanding partnership with the Prince William County Schools. We work together every day to foster a safe and secure environment in our schools. This strong and collaborative relationship helps to identify threats and deter violence.  

Currently, we have School Resource Officers actively present in the County’s middle and high schools, as well as, patrol officers who frequently visit our elementary schools. Last week, following the tragic events in Florida, our officers increased their presence at our schools. This presence is intended to provide a sense of reassurance to our school community. We understand our community not only wants to be safe but feel safe. We want to ensure our schools know we are here without interfering with a student’s ability to learn.  We want students to enjoy their school years.

When violence strikes at any school in our Nation, we feel the suffering of those involved and this places a heavy burden on all of our hearts. We hold our children a little tighter and worry a little more when they are not with us. We look for ways to make our schools and communities even safer in hopes of preventing future violence.

Your Police Department is continuing to review and assess how we can improve our strategies regarding school safety. We will continue to work diligently to protect our schoolchildren, educators and staff and work with all stakeholders to enhance the safety at our schools. 

Our community can only be safe if we work together. Together, we will make a difference.

Updated: Suspect shot by federal officer outside Dumfires motel dies

4:30 p.m.

Law Enforcement Involved Shooting *UPDATE – The suspect shot by a member of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task earlier this morning, February 23, has died. The suspect involved, identified as Mario Dantoni BASS, 37, was sought by Prince William County police on 11 active warrants, most recently in connection to a domestic-related abduction that was reported to police by the victim on February 15. Additional warrants for this suspect, including felony grand larceny auto, identity theft, and various traffic violations, date as far back as September 2015.

Today, the Task Force attempted to locate the suspect after information was received that lead to the Days Inn in Dumfries where the suspect was allegedly staying. Upon making contact at the room, the suspect broke through an upper floor window and fled before encountering a member of the Task Force at the rear of the hotel. During a physical altercation, the suspect was shot in the upper body. No other injuries were reported.

The member of the Task Force involved in the shooting was identified as a federal officer with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Prince William County police remain the lead agency investigating the shooting. Upon completion of the investigation, detectives will review the findings with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office who then make a determination regarding criminal liability.

11:37 a.m. 

From Prince William police: 

Law Enforcement Involved Shooting – On February 23 at approximately 9:00AM, members of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force were at the Days Inn located at 16925 Old Stage Rd in Dumfries (22025) attempting to serve multiple arrest warrants from Prince William County on an individual believed to be staying inside one of the rooms. As the Task Force was attempting to make entry into the room, the suspect, identified as an adult male, fled out of a window. As the suspect fled, he confronted a member of the Task Force leading to a physical altercation. During the encounter, the Task Force member shot the suspect. The scene was immediately contained by responding officers. The suspect was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. No law enforcement officers or bystanders were injured during the incident. Prince William County police is the lead agency in this investigation. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues.

Updated: Driver found, charged after fatal crash near Haymarket

Updated 7:35 p.m.

Police said they found their missing driver. 

From a press release:  *DRIVER ARRESTED – Investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit have charged the driver involved in this morning’s fatal crash in Gainesville that killed a 38-year-old man of Warrenton. The accused was located shortly after 1:00PM by deputies from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office walking along a roadway. The accused was not injured and was detained without incident. Speed and alcohol use are believed to be contributing factors in the collision. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

                Arrested on February 12:

                Vicente Martir VIDES VASQUEZ, 21, of the 300 block of Jackson St in Warrenton

                Charged with involuntary manslaughterhit & run causing death and driving without a license

                Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Updated 1:55 p.m. 

Police identified the man who was ejected from the car. 

Fatal Crash Investigation *VICTIM IDENTIFIED – Investigators from the Crash Investigation Unithave identified the passenger killed in this morning’s fatal crash in Gainesville as Jose Nelvin ROMERO MALDONADO, 38, of Warrenton. The front seat passenger was identified as a 30-year-old man of Warrenton. The suspected driver of the vehicle was located a short time ago by deputies from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. The driver will be interviewed by Prince William County police investigators regarding the crash this afternoon. The investigation is continuing.

We’ve just learned the details of a fatal crash near Haymarket this morning. 

Here’s more in a press release: 

On February 12 at 2:42AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of James Madison Hwy and Thoroughfare Rd in Gainesville (20155) to investigate a single vehicle crash.

The investigation revealed a 2001 Toyota 4-Runner was traveling northbound on James Madison Hwy in the above area when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which left the roadway and rolled. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene prior to officers arriving in the area.

A backseat passenger, identified as an adult male, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of injuries sustained from the crash. A front seat passenger, identified as an adult male, was wearing a seatbelt and sustained minor injuries. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment and has since been released.

A Prince William County police K-9 and helicopter assistance from Fairfax County Police responded to search for the driver who was not immediately located. Investigators are actively working to identify the driver. The identity of the deceased will be released once a next-of-kin has been notified. The investigation continues.

Suspect in custody, charged with shooting and killing brother in Stafford

We got notification of a homicide that happened yesterday. From the Stafford sheriff’s office press release:

Stafford, VA.  A suspect is in custody for shooting and killing his brother in the area of Holly Drive in Stafford County.  

On February 6, 2018 at approximately 8:58 p.m., deputies responded to the area of Holly Drive after the Roanoke Police Department notified the Stafford Sheriff’s Office that they had a subject in custody who had admitted to shooting and killing his brother in Stafford.

Stafford detectives said an unknown dispute occurred between the suspect, William Jackson Veronee, 21, of Aiken, South Carolina, and the victim, Christopher Andrew Veronee, 33, of Stafford. Detectives believe the suspect shot and killed his brother on Monday afternoon.

Following the homicide, the suspect stole his brother’s vehicle, which broke down while traveling in the area of Roanoke, Virginia. Police were notified of a suspicious subject by staff at a cold weather shelter. The subject spoke with responding officers, and was then taken into custody by Roanoke Police.

The Stafford Sheriff’s Office was notified and deputies then located the deceased victim at his home on Holly Drive. The stolen vehicle was recovered by Roanoke Police.

The suspect has been charged with second degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. He is currently being held in the Roanoke City Jail.

The incident is still under investigation by the Stafford Sheriff’s Office.  

 

Updated: School bus driver killed in Prince William County

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A school bus driver was struck and killed this morning at a Prince William County bus depot.

The unidentified victim struck by a bus backing out of a service bay shortly after 7 a.m. at the McCuin bus depot on Piney Branch Lane in Bristow. 

Family members of the victim have been contacted. The school division is awaiting notification of next of kin before the driver is identified, said Prince William County Schools spokesman Phil Kavits.

The school division was operating this morning on a two-hour delay due to icy conditions overnight. 

The McCuin school bus depot is one of three in the county where drivers park their personal vehicles, board their respective buses, and begin their morning routes. The other two school bus depots are located at Independent Hill and Potomac Senior High School in Woodbridge.

We’ll update this post as more becomes available.

Update — Statement from the school division

We are sad to report that a PWCS bus driver was killed this morning by a bus reportedly backing out of the service bay at McCuin Transportation Center. An investigation is underway.

We are withholding the name pending full notification of family members. A Critical Incident Team was dispatched to provide support to those dealing with the sad news. We are all saddened by the loss of our PWCS family member and our thoughts are with his family, friends, coworkers and student passengers.

Update 3:39 p.m. 

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On February 5 at 7:31AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the Prince William County Schools McCuin Transportation Center located at 7900 Piney Branch Ln in Bristow (20136) to investigate a crash involving a County school bus. The investigation revealed that a driver of a 2014 Freightliner school bus was backing out of a service area within the center when another employee, who was standing behind the bus, was struck. The employee who was struck was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was not injured. No children were on the bus at the time of the incident. At this time, no charges have been placed. The investigation continues.

             Identified:

                The employee was identified as Richard Lee PROFFITT, 62, of Manassas

                The driver of the school bus was identified as a 60-year-old man of Nokesville

Winter weather delays and closings information for Jan. 17, 2018

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Fredericksburg City Public Schools, Spotsylvania County Public Schools, King George County Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, King George County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Fredericksburg City, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes to be extended to Fredericksburg

Drivers on Interstate 95 will see the E-ZPass Express Lanes extended from Stafford County into Fredericksburg, across the Rappahannock River. 

The new project announced today includes constructing a new bridge and replacing the existing bridges over the river.

From a press release: 

FREDERICKSBURG – The Commonwealth Transportation Board has awarded a contract worth approximately $101.6 million to Wagman Heavy Civil, Inc., of North Dinwiddie, to build the Interstate 95 southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project in Stafford County, the City of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County.

The project seeks to reduce I-95 congestion in the Fredericksburg area by providing local traffic with additional lanes to travel between Route 17 and Route 3 without merging into the interstate’s general purpose lanes.

The Rappahannock River Crossing will build three new general purpose lanes for I-95 south stretching six miles in the current median of I-95. The new lanes would begin in the vicinity of Truslow Road, just north of Exit 133 at Route 17 in Stafford. The new lanes will end 1.2 miles south of Exit 130 at Route 3 in Fredericksburg, with the project terminus in Spotsylvania.

The three existing I-95 southbound lanes in this area will be converted to local traffic lanes, also known as collector-distributor lanes.

A new bridge will be built over the Rappahannock River parallel to the existing I-95 southbound bridge to carry the new general purpose traffic lanes.

Additionally, the bridges that carry I-95 north and south over Route 17 will be replaced as part of the project. Both bridges are structurally deficient, which does not imply that the bridges are likely to collapse or are unsafe, but that there are elements of the bridges that need to be monitored and/or repaired.

Construction will begin in summer 2018 and will be completed in 2022.

The I-95 southbound Rappahannock River Crossing will be the next project to start construction as part of the Atlantic Gateway suite of projects. Virginia was awarded a $165 million FASTLANE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in 2016 for Atlantic Gateway, a $1.4 billion set of highway, transit and rail projects in the I-95 corridor.

The USDOT’s FASTLANE competitive grant program, is part of a $4.6 billion, five-year program created by the FAST Act, which was signed into law in December 2015 and makes large-scale national investments to improve freight and highway mobility across the United States. Every grant under the program will be subject to a 60-day congressional review before final grant awards are announced.

For more information on the I-95 southbound Rappahannock River Crossing, and to see project designs, please visit the project page online at www.VirginiaDOT.org.

Our premium membership content tier launches Jan. 10, 2018

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, we will introduce our premium content tier. I hope you will choose to become a member!

Here, our best and most informative work to cover our community — from local government to new and fun things to do with your friends and family — will be featured in our premium content tier.

Gaining access to our premium content tier is easy, and it’s priced at a great value: $6 a month, or save 10% and pay up front at just $65 a year.

Only selected content will appear on our premium membership tier. Many of the features you have come to expect from Potomac Local, including the police blotter, reader questions, and emails, our popular Breakfast Links email will continue to be sent at 5 a.m. each weekday, will remain free.

So, if you already get it you’ll keep getting it. If you don’t, sign up free.

We first told you about membership and our upcoming premium content in early December.

In addition to access to great local news coverage, members will also be eligible for special offers and discounts from area businesses and will be invited to special events.

Your membership — valued at less than two cups of coffee month — is vital for Potomac Local to not only to continue to cover our community with trusted, unbiased, objective local news but also to expand our coverage in traffic and transportation news, something that affects all Northern Virginians.

I had the pleasure of speaking with many readers about the change shortly after I announced it in December. I’m always available to answer any questions you might have regarding this first-of-its-kind change on Potomac Local, so please email me at ukiser[at]potomaclocal.com.

Thank you for your continued support of Potomac Local over the years, and for becoming a sustaining member of our local news organization.

School delays and closures for Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

Updated: Icy threat prompt public schools to close early Monday

Prince William County Public Schools will close three hours early today. All afternoon and evening activities are canceled. SACC will be closed today. 

The school division said it will attempt to serve lunches. 

The decision to close early comes as a winter weather advisory will go into effect today at 3 o’clock this afternoon.

From the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 9 PM EST THIS EVENING…

* WHAT…A wintry mix with freezing rain and sleet is expected. The ice will result in very slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges. A light glaze of ice is expected.

* WHERE…The Washington DC metropolitan area, and northern Piedmont and central foothills of Virginia.

* WHEN…From 3 PM to 9 PM EST Monday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Even if air temperatures rise above freezing, the ground and other surfaces are still extremely cold due to the recent Arctic blast. This increases the likelihood of a glaze of ice on surfaces.

Prince William County Public Schools opened on time today while Stafford County Public Schools delayed its opening by two hours, and Fairfax Loudoun, and Fauquier schools closed today.

Updated 11:48 a.m 

Stafford County students will also get an early day today, 

From the school division: 

All Stafford County Public Schools will dismiss two hours early due to impending weather conditions. Stafford County is currently under a Weather Advisory. All after school and evening activities are canceled. Afternoon preschool classes are canceled.  

Dismissal time for Head Start students is 12:00p.m.

Dismissal time for Elementary students is 1:40 p.m.

Middle School dismissal time is 12:50 p.m.

High School dismissal time is 12:15p.m.

 

Winter weather delays and closings information for Friday, Jan. 5, 2018

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

Winter weather delays and closings information for Jan. 4, 2018

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

Updated: Woman found dead inside Stafford apartment prior to police shooting on I-95

Lee

From a press release: 

At 11:31 a.m., Thursday (Dec. 28), Virginia State Police received a Be On the Look Out bulletin for an SUV that was possibly related to an ongoing criminal investigation in Stafford County. A state trooper spotted the suspect vehicle traveling north on Interstate 95 near the 137 mile marker and, with the assistance of a Stafford County Sheriff’s Deputy, attempted a traffic stop. 

As the State Trooper and Stafford County Deputy activated their emergency lights to initiate the traffic stop, the SUV pulled off to the shoulder near the 138 mile marker in Stafford County. The driver of the SUV got out of his vehicle and began shooting at the trooper and deputy – striking the trooper’s windshield. Then the driver jumped back into the SUV and fled northbound on I-95. The suspect vehicle crashed and overturned near the 142 mile marker in the northbound lanes of I-95 in Stafford County.

The driver of the suspect vehicle is being flown to Fairfax Inova Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

No law enforcement or other motorists were injured in the shooting or pursuit. No law enforcement fired their weapons during the course of the incident.

The incident remains under investigation at this time.

From VDOT: 

Update: I-95 northbound remains closed. Traffic detoured at Exit 140/Courthouse Road to Route 1 northbound. Expect major delays on Interstate 95 northbound and Route 1 northbound.

Updated 7 p.m. 

From Stafford sheriff’s office: 

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic-related shooting on Thursday morning at England Run North Apartments that later led to a pursuit and motor vehicle accident on Interstate 95 northbound.  

At approximately 11:24 a.m., Stafford deputies responded to reports of a shooting in the area of Heron Drive in the southern end of the county. Upon arrival, deputies observed a woman with three gunshot wounds to the chest. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies learned the adult male suspect had driven away in a black SUV.

Shortly after the Sheriff’s Office issued a Be On The Lookout bulletin, Virginia State Police Trooper Z.G. Torrance located the suspect’s vehicle heading northbound on Interstate 95. When he attempted to initiate a traffic stop, the suspect fired multiple shots at the trooper. One bullet penetrated the windshield of the trooper’s vehicle, narrowly missing the trooper, and became lodged in the driver’s seat.

After Stafford Deputy Cody McCormick joined the pursuit, the suspect again leaned out of his window and fired his weapon. A bullet penetrated the windshield of the deputy’s vehicle and narrowly missed the deputy. The bullet was later found lodged in the driver’s side headrest.

Both the trooper and deputy escaped the incident uninjured, and neither fired their weapons at the suspect.

Updated 

The woman shot and killed inside her Stafford County apartment on Thursday is 36-year-old Melissa Dee Lee. 

The man accused of shooting and killing her, as well as fleeing the scene and shooting at police is 42-year-old Gregory Lee. He was shot by police on Thursday and flown to a local hospital where he later died.

Lee was convicted of attempted rape in an Alexandria court in 1999 and was listed on the state sex offender registry. 

Prince William County school teacher Atif Qarni named Virginia Education Secretary 

A Prince William County School teacher will be Virginia’s next Secretary of Education. 

Gov.-Elect Ralph Northam came to Beville Middle School in Dale City about 1:30 p.m. Thursday to announce Atif Qarni, an 8th-grade civics teacher at the school, would oversee the state’s education department. 

It is very important to me that we have a secretary of education in the Commonwealth of Virginia that understands the classroom,” said Northam. Someone who knows K-12 education and has a vision of where to take K-12 in the coming years”

A Marine, educated at George Washington and George Mason University, Qarni has long been active in local politics. In 2013, he challenged Bob Marshall for the 13th District House of Delegates seat, soon to be held by Danica Roem. Two years later, he ran and lost in a Primary Election against State Senator Jeremy McPike, who went on to win the General Election against Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish.

Northam, a pediatrician, says career development for teachers and addressing overcrowded classrooms — of which Prince William County has the most overcrowded classrooms in the Washingon, D.C. region — are top priorities for his education office. 

Qarni received a phone call on Wednesday telling him he had been selected for the job after a two-week interview process. It is a job the 8th-grade teacher applied for because he feels he can use his experience from the classroom to make positive changes in Richmond.

“I’m looking forward to using the things I’ve learned in the last 10 years as a classroom teacher,” he said.

His students gathered in the library of the school where Northam stood at a podium to make the announcement. They all cheered when they saw their teacher be recognized by the incoming governor. 

Qarni helped to organize a candlelight vigil for 15-year-old Ruben Urbina outside Prince William County Government Center in October. Urbina was shot and killed by Prince William police after police said he wielded a three-foot-long crowbar at them and ignored commands to drop the weapon.

Qarni has also organized multiple mock elections for students at Beville Middle School in an effort to impress upon students the importance of civic participation.

Two-alarm blaze breaks out at house off Prince William Parkway

Fire crews are battling a 2-alarm blaze at a home off Prince Wiliam Parkway. 

Here’s the official word from Prince William Fire and Rescue: 

Dispatch 5:56
6300 block Hemlock Ridge Ct.
no injuries reported
FD arrived on scene with an attached garage fully involved.
Fire was extending into the home.
Went to 2 alarms.
Still active operations at this time.
Single family dwelling.

The home was located nearest the newest Prince William County Fire Station 2g, which opened Sept. 30.

However, crews from Buckhall Fire Department on Yates Ford Road were first on the scene. 

More as we have it. 

Updated — More from Prince William fire and rescue: 

Damage is extensive. The cause is under investigation. The Red Cross was on the scene to assist the displaced family.

Update

The home sustained extensive damage estimated at $500,000. The Building Official has posted the home unsafe.

The occupants were not home at the time of the fire; Red Cross is assisting the family, 2 adults and 4 children, displaced by the fire.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Photos: Prince William fire and rescue 

 

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