Brunswick County

VSP Investigate Fatatal Single Vehicle Crash in Brunswick County

Virginia State Police investigate a single vehicle crash that results in a fatality. 
 
Tuesday evening, at approximately 8:04PM, the Virginia State Police was called to investigate a single vehicle accident on Route 58, east of Route 638, in Brunswick County.
 
Preliminary investigations reveal that the driver of a 2001 Chevrolet Geo, Larry Jones, was traveling in the eastbound lanes of Route 58 when the driver lost control, ran off the roadway, striking several trees and overturned, killing Jones.
 
Larry Jones, 71 YOA, of the 800 block of Glendale Mill Road, of Freeman, Virginia, was wearing his safety belt and it is unknown at this time if alcohol was a contributing factor.

VSP Investigate Single Vehicle Pursuit that Ended in Fatality in Brunswick County

Virginia State Police investigate a single fatal accident as a result of  vehicle pursuit.
 
Earlier this morning, July 20, at approximately 5:21 AM, the Virginia State Police Communications Center received a call from Brunswick County Sheriff's Office requesting a trooper and the Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team to investigate a single vehicle fatality crash that resulted from a traffic pursuit, initiated by the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
 
Preliminary investigations reveal that a 2019 Porsche Cayenne was traveling at a high rate of speed in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, when the driver lost control of the vehicle at the 37mm, Brunswick County. The male driver ran off the roadway, ejecting the unrestrained driver. The vehicle overturned into the tree line, killing the driver, and seriously injuring the passenger. The male passenger was wearing his safety belt and had to be airlifted to Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital with life threatening injuries. 
 
Identification and notification to family members is currently pending. The investigation remains on-going. 

The driver has been identified as 29 year old Brian Alexander Thompson II of the 1100 block of Piazza Place, Hampton , Virginia. Notification has been made to family members. 

The passenger, 35 year old Marcus L. Jones of Hamlett, North Carolina, remains at VCU.

Virginia Lawmakers Break For Brunswick Stew

People line up for Brunswick stew

Legislative pages transport stew

By Conor Lobb, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- The aroma of meat and vegetables beckoned state legislators Wednesday to a tent at the foot of the Capitol for Brunswick Stew Day.

Scores of legislative pages -- young aides who assist lawmakers -- wheeled carts laden with styrofoam containers of stew back toward the State Capitol for legislators who couldn’t get away.

“There’s no cooking supper when you come home with Brunswick stew,” said Del. Thomas C. Wright, R-Victoria. Wright was the legislative “chef” responsible for the official resolution designating the fourth Wednesday in January as Brunswick Stew Day. 

“The legislators love it. At first, they didn’t even know what Brunswick stew was,” Wright said. 

Brunswick stew is a mixture of beans, chicken, corn and other vegetables. In 1988 the Virginia General Assembly named Brunswick County the “birthplace” of Brunswick stew -- though the designation hasn’t gone unchallenged by Brunswick, Georgia. 

For 18 years, stew masters have brought their award-winning recipes to the Capitol. This year, the honor belongs to the Danieltown Stew Crew. The group won the 2019 World Champion Brunswick Stew Cook-off, held last fall at the Lawrenceville-Brunswick Municipal Airport.

Inside the steamy, white tent where the stew cooked, a three-man team stirred the stew pots, weighing 50 and 75 gallons, respectively. Clark Bennett, the Danieltown Stew Master, told Capitol News Service that his 75-gallon pot is over 100 years old.

“Some people call them cauldrons,” Bennett said.

Bennett was using two massive cast iron cauldrons to brew his version of the Brunswick tradition. The stew crew used a wooden paddle to constantly stir the hearty mixture.

“I do a figure eight. You don’t want it sticking to the pot,” said Kyle Gee, a member of the stew crew.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Bettina Ring said that Brunswick Stew Day is a great tradition in Brunswick County and rustic parts of the state. She also called it an opportunity to educate legislators about rural communities.

Brunswick County Administrator Charlette Woolridge said Brunswick Stew Day helps promote the county and reach legislators.

“It’s important that they understand issues that impact Brunswick County and rural communities,” Woolridge said, highlighting the importance of increasing rural broadband and stimulating economic development.

Del. Roslyn C. Tyler, D-Jarratt, represents Brunswick. She said broadband is imperative “to promote economic development and attract businesses.” 

Two duplicate bills were introduced this legislative session, one in the House and one in the Senate, that would grant a locality the authority to establish telecommunication services such as internet and broadband.

Sen. L. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, asked for her bill to be removed and the other bill, introduced by Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth, failed to pass a subcommittee Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the bowls of steaming stew had no problem being passed around.

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Brunswick Counry High Speed Chase Ends in Fatality

Virginia State Police was called to investigate a single vehicle accident that was a result of a vehicle pursuit by Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
 
Preliminary investigations reveal that at approximately 10:48 p.m. yesterday evening (October19), the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department attempted to pull over a 2010 Honda Civic for speeding 84MPH in a 70 MPH speed zone. The Honda Civic was traveling in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, when the deputy attempted to pull over Valeton Junior Pratt. Mr. Pratt failed to pull over and a pursuit entailed. Mr. Pratt attempted to take exit 34 at a high rate of speed, crossed over Route 630, and struck a tree.
 
Mr. Valeton J. Pratt, 27 YOA, of the 1000 block of First Avenue, Lawrenceville, VA., died upon impact. His front seat passenger, Keith M. Haskins, of South Hill, Virginia, suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was taken to VCU Hospital in South Hill, Virginia.
 
Mr. Pratt was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. It is unknown at this time if alcohol played a contributing factor. 
 
Notification to family members has been made.

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Instead of Cooking Up Laws, Politicians Enjoy Stew

Instead of cooking up laws, legislators enjoy stew

By Maura Mazurowski, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – “Today is the day!” exclaimed Del. Chris Jones of Suffolk as he made his way into the tent set up outside the General Assembly Building. Behind him, a long line of state legislators exiting their offices repeatedly asked the same question:

“Is the stew ready yet?”

Wednesday was Brunswick Stew Day at the state Capitol, celebrating the signature dish of Brunswick County, a quaint locale along Virginia’s southern border. The stew was free to the public but mostly served state legislators. However, if you wanted your share, you had to get there early: The 80-gallon cast-iron pot was empty in just two hours.

The annual event features the first-place winner from the Taste of Brunswick Festival, held every October in Brunswick County. The winning stew crew cooks its recipe for the General Assembly on the fourth Wednesday in January during the legislative session, an honor enshrined in a resolution passed by lawmakers 15 years ago.

Twenty-four teams competed for the Taste of Brunswick crown last October. Bill Steed and his son Chad came out on top as the stew masters for Brunswick Stew Day 2017. This was their third time competing in the festival.

“Third time’s the charm,” Bill’s wife, Deborah Steed, said proudly.

Steed and his team – which included his daughter-in-law Beverly Steed, his brother Chuck Maitland and his nephew Zach Maitland – arrived at the Capitol just before midnight to start cooking by 2 a.m. The stirring didn’t stop until the pot was empty.

“You cannot let it sit at all,” warned Brunswick County Administrator Charlette Woolridge. “It’s always being stirred.”

Born and raised in Brunswick County, Bill Steed has been cooking stew since childhood. While he outlined the recipe’s basic ingredients – chicken, vegetables and a butter base – no one would disclose the “secret ingredient.”

“It’s a Brunswick County secret that makes our stew an absolute art,” Woolridge said.

Woolridge, a Richmond native, has been coming to the Capitol for Brunswick Stew Day since being selected as county administrator 10 years ago.

“This is a day to showcase Brunswick County and our diverse people,” Woolridge said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to share something that’s near and dear to us with the legislators by providing them with stew – and they love it.”

Virginia’s love for Brunswick stew dates back to the 1820s. Dr. Creed Haskins, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and a group of friends were on a hunting trip in Brunswick County. Their chef, Jimmy Matthews, slow-cooked everything he could find for the hungry hunters: squirrel, bread crumbs, onions, butter, seasonings and more. The stew has since become a staple at Southern gatherings.

But the Steeds were doing more than serving legislators delicious stew this brilliantly blue morning: They were carrying on a family tradition. According to Deborah Steed, the Steed family members are distant relatives of Dr. Haskins.

For about 30 years, Brunswick County officials have been coming to Richmond each legislative session to dish out their stew to lawmakers. The General Assembly officially established Brunswick Stew Day on the Capitol grounds in 2002 by passing House Joint Resolution 2.

Legislators have been lining up for a bowlful ever since.

“I love seeing people come through the line and say, ‘Thank you, this is so good,’” Wooldridge said. “Brunswick stew makes people feel happy. I just enjoy serving and giving back to the people.”

Disclosure: In the interest of journalistic integrity, it should be noted that the reporter tasted the Brunswick stew for herself and can agree that it is indeed a work of art.

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