Independence Day

INDEPENDENCE DAY HOLIDAY TRAFFIC CRASHES CLAIM TEN LIVES IN VIRGINIA

RICHMOND – Virginia is experiencing a disturbing trend on its roadways – increased traffic crash fatalities – with the state on pace to have another unfortunate increase in 2021. Preliminary reports indicate 10 individuals died in traffic crashes on Virginia highways during the July 4 holiday statistical counting period that began at 12:01 a.m. July 2, 2021 and concluded at midnight July 5, 2021. Four of the crashes involved motorcycles and a fifth was an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Since Jan. 1, 2021 through July 7, 2021, preliminary reports indicate 399 lives have been lost to traffic crashes in Virginia, compared to 395 during the same time period in 2020.

The 10 fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Botetourt, Campbell, Chesterfield, Essex, Fairfax, Mecklenburg, Patrick and Stafford and the City of Newport News. The fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in the counties of Botetourt, Essex, Fairfax and Stafford. The Patrick County crash involved the ATV.

“Virginia State Police substantially increased our presence on Virginia roadways this past weekend, and yet, we still have people flaunting the safety of others on the road by driving at excessive speeds and under the influence,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We are at the height of the summer travel season, which is why we need every Virginian committed to being a safe, responsible driver. Please put as much attention into driving, buckling up and complying with speed limits as you do with planning your summer getaway. You and Virginia’s safety depend on it.”

During the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort’s (C.A.R.E.) four-day statistical counting period, Virginia troopers arrested 61 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 4,025 speeders and 1,434 reckless drivers, and issued 510 citations to individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. During the holiday statistical counting period, Virginia State Police responded to a total 669 traffic crashes statewide and assisted 1,550 disabled/stranded motorists. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

For more information on traffic safety and how to keep Virginia “Moving Toward Zero Roadway Deaths,” go to www.tzdva.org.

Vigilance of Virginia State Troopers  Kept  Roads Safe This Independence Weekend

Division V Troopers (area that encompassed the 7 major cities and 14 surrounding counties of Hampton Roads) participated in an on-going effort to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities in Hampton Roads during the 2021 Fourth of July holiday weekend. 

As part of the national and state-sponsored program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impared driving, speed, and failing to wear a seatbelt, Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) went into full effect Friday (July 2, 2021) through midnight Monday (July 5, 2021). During this time period troopers summoned/arrested a total of 2673 drivers, 1089 citations for reckless driving, 12 arrests for driving under the influence, 75 citations for seatbelt violations, investigated a total of 113 traffic crashes with 1 fatality, and assisted 116 motorists. A motorist was cited for speeding 134 MPH/60 MPH in Chesapeake, in Sussex County another was cited for 100MPH/55MPH, and in Virginia Beach another motorist was cited for 120MPH/55MPH (see attached photos).

Throughout the holiday weekend, troopers were not only busy keeping roads safe, but also arresting those wanted in outlying cities as well;

On July 2nd, a trooper initiated a traffic stop on a Honda sedan for traveling the wrong direction on Route 301, Greenville County. The vehicle refused to stop and a pursuit entailed with speeds not exceeding 35MPH. With the assistance of other troopers, all five occupants were detained. The driver, 31 year old Kea Michelle Wilson, was charged with driving under the influence and eluding/misdemeanor. Her male passenger, 34 year old Rashard Witcher, was arrested for outstanding warrants on file out of Henrico & Chesterfield, and was charged with false information to law enforcement and failure to identify. The other male and female passenger along with a 6 year old child, were not injured in the incident, and left the scene without incident. Wilson and Witcher were both taken to Southside Regional Jail. 

On July 4th, at approximately 8:04 p.m., a trooper patrolling Sussex County attempted to make a traffic stop on a Honda Odyssey that had an expired inspection sticker on Route 301 southbound, south of Route 605. The driver, 43 year old John Alonzo Roach, refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated. Roach stopped the vehicle at Allen Road and Wyatt Mill Road in Greensville County and fled on foot into the property woodline of Greensville Correctional Center. With the assistance of Southampton Sheriff's Office K-9 units, Roach was located and placed under arrest. Roach was wanted out of Petersburg for malicious bodily injury & firearm possession/transport by a convicted felon. Roach was also charged with no operators license, felony eluding, trespass on state property, and expired inspection.

MAKE IT A SAFE & SOBER JULY 4 HOLIDAY WEEKEND

RICHMOND – With backyard barbecues and public Independence Day celebrations back in full swing, the Virginia State Police is encouraging everyone to plan ahead for the holiday weekend.

“This year Independence Day means a lot of different things for Virginians, but it’s safe to say big celebrations will be part of your weekend plans,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Whether watching a neighborhood fireworks display, heading to a big celebration or traveling for summer vacation, remember to buckle up, eliminate distractions and never drive buzzed, drunk or under the influence.”

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Friday (July 2, 2021) through midnight Monday (July 5, 2021) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

During last year’s four-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, there were nine traffic deaths on Virginia highways. Virginia troopers arrested 44 drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cited 1,540 speeders and 732 reckless drivers, and issued 126 citations to individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. Troopers also assisted 1,153 disabled/stranded motorists.

If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely.  Party hosts are encouraged to serve non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.

“It is also important to note that July 4th celebrations may be a bit different this year than those of the past due to the legalization of simple possession of cannabis for adults 21 years and over,” said Colonel Settle. “Whether you are trying marijuana for the first time or are a previous cannabis consumer, remember driving under the influence is still illegal in Virginia. If we all do our small part, we increase everyone’s chances of having a safer holiday weekend.”

As of July 1, 2021, adults 21 years and older will be allowed to possess not more than one ounce of cannabis for personal use. The use of marijuana while driving a motor vehicle or while being a passenger in a motor vehicle will continue to be illegal. For more information on the new legislation, visit: cannabis.virginia.gov.

With increased holiday patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

Church Street Independence Day Celebration Cancelled, But Say Thank You Anyway

Anne and Bobby have been celebrating Independence Day on Church Street for more than half a century. This year's event is cancelled due to the Coronavirus Outbreak. A reader has suggested that we show our appreciation to the Wrenns for their dedication by filling their front yard with tiny American Flags from the the dollar stores. Sneak by this evening and place a flag in the front yard so that it will be there when Bobby wakes up - it will be the perfect "THANK YOU" for all those years of fun! See you next year!

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGES MOTORISTS TO CELEBRATE SMART, SAFE & SOBER DURING JULY 4 HOLIDAY WEEKEND

RICHMOND – With Virginia having moved into Phase Three of Governor Northam’s COVID-19 guidelines, the Virginia State Police is encouraging everyone to plan ahead for their celebratory travel plans this coming holiday weekend.
 
“Summer days are filled with celebration, including vacations, outdoor festivals and backyard cookouts, but no matter where your plans take you, please make safety your priority,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Regardless of the distance you’re traveling this week – across the country or around the corner – remember to buckle up, eliminate distractions and never drive buzzed or drunk. If we all do our small part, we increase everyone’s chances of having a safer holiday weekend.”
 
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Friday (July 3, 2020) through midnight Sunday (July 5, 2020) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.
 
During last year’s three-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 79 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 5,517 speeders and 1,774 reckless drivers, issued 742 individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. During the three-day July 4, 2019 holiday counting period, there were seven traffic deaths on Virginia highways.
 
If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely.  Party hosts are encouraged to serve non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.
 
With increased holiday patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

2019 INDEPENDENCE DAY HOLIDAY PROVES DEADLY & DANGEROUS FOR VIRGINIA HIGHWAYS

Seven Traffic Fatalities; 79 DUI Arrests During July 4th Statistical Period

RICHMOND – Unfortunately, thousands of drunk, speeding and reckless drivers kept Virginia State Police busy and put countless lives at risk during the 2019 July 4th holiday weekend across the Commonwealth. Preliminary reports indicate seven people died in six traffic crashes during the holiday statistical counting period that began at 12:01 a.m. July 3, 2019 and concluded at midnight July 5, 2019.

The six fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Highland, Loudoun, Lunenburg, Nelson, Pittsylvania and Spotsylvania. The Spotsylvania County crash on July 5 resulted in two deaths. Altogether, the crashes claimed the lives of four drivers and three passengers. Four of the deceased were not wearing seat belts.

“Recognizing the potential for more holiday travelers and festivities with July 4th falling on a Thursday this year, we made certain to have every available trooper working Virginia’s highways during the holiday weekend,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Even though state police did its part to enhance its response times and traffic safety enforcement efforts, too many motorists still put their lives and others at risk during the holiday weekend by failing to drive smart, safe or sober.”

During the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort’s (C.A.R.E.) three-day statistical counting period, Virginia troopers arrested 79 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 5,389 speeders and 1,752 reckless drivers, issued 723 citations for individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. During the holiday statistical counting period, Virginia State Police responded to a total 548 traffic crashes statewide and assisted 1,791 disabled/stranded motorists. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

“We are at the height of the summer travel season, which is why we need every Virginian committed to being a safe, responsible driver. Please put as much attention into driving, buckling up and complying with speed limits as you do with planning the summer getaway. You and your family’s safety depend on it,” said Colonel Settle.

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VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGES MOTORISTS TO CELEBRATE SMART, SAFE & SOBER DURING HOLIDAY CELEBRATING RED, WHITE & BLUE

RICHMOND – With the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday this year, many Virginians are planning ahead for a long holiday weekend. Virginia State Police is encouraging everyone to also think ahead for their celebratory travel plans. Last week, state police joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving and local law enforcement to launch a series of new Public Service Announcements (PSA) to remind motorists that drunk driving kills: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCffVSEnfXOSmv5hEqUYDNfg.

 

“Virginia may have experienced fewer alcohol-related crashes in 2018, but those fewer crashes proved more dangerous and deadlier,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Last year in Virginia, alcohol-related fatalities increased by 12.1% in comparison to 2017. Thirty more people died and 45 more people were injured in traffic crashes due to alcohol on Virginia’s highways in 2018. That translates to 278 deaths and 4,475 injuries because of someone’s reckless decision to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”

 

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday (July 3, 2019) through midnight Friday (July 5, 2019) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

 

During last year’s two-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 42 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 4,911 speeders and 1,251 reckless drivers, issued 114 citations for child seat violations, and cited 433 individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up.

 

If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely.  Party hosts are encouraged to serve guests non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.

  

With increased holiday patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

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TRAFFIC DEATHS INCREASE OVER 2017 FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND

Four killed were not wearing seat belts

RICHMOND – Fatal crash numbers rose during this year’s Fourth of July weekend, and nearly half of the motorists killed in those crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers report a total of nine drivers and passengers died in as many traffic crashes statewide this past holiday weekend. Last year, traffic crashes claimed a total of eight lives on Virginia highways.

The nine fatal traffic crashes occurred in the cities of Norfolk and the counties of Amherst, Dinwiddie, Fairfax, Henrico, Montgomery, Orange, Rockingham and Surry. State troopers responded to and investigated a total of 671 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period.

Of the six passenger vehicle fatalities over the holiday weekend, four of those killed were not wearing seat belts. Separate crashes in Norfolk and Fairfax County took the lives of two pedestrians attempting to cross the street. In Rockingham County, a motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, was killed in a head-on collision with drunk driver.

“Sadly, the number of fatalities on our highways increased this year during the holiday, which is unacceptable,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “A moment is all that it takes for a crash to occur, but taking a moment before you drive to put on your seat belt or your helmet, to put the phone down or to make the decision not to drive drunk or drugged could save a life. When we get behind the wheel, we all need to do our part to make our travels as safe as possible.” 

Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) over the holiday weekend, which is a traffic safety initiative that began 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, and concluded Tuesday, July 4, 2017, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like the Fourth of July.

The 2017 Fourth of July Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 10,238 speeders and 2,677 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 992 safety belt violations and 308 child restraint violations. A total of 114 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

Although “Move Over” Awareness Month came to a close in June, Virginia State Police continued to emphasize the importance of the “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching emergency vehicles stopped along the roadside. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass emergency vehicles with active blue, red or amber flashing lights. 

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement. 

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General Assembly Commends the Wrenn Family on 50th Annual Independence Day Celebration

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 883


Offered February 6, 2017

Commending the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration.

WHEREAS, the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration has been an institution in the Emporia community for 50 years; and

WHEREAS, on July 4, 1968, Robert C. Wrenn and Ann W. Wrenn, along with their children, Randi and Bob, hosted their first neighborhood Fourth of July celebration at their home on 304 Church Street to promote patriotism and an appreciation for American history; and

WHEREAS, the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration starts with a ride on a city fire truck for anyone who wants to participate and features group sing-alongs of patriotic songs; Steven Walker, the Mayor of Charlotte Courthouse, provides a history of the Declaration of Independence while dressed in authentic Colonial garb, and every child in attendance receives an American flag; and

WHEREAS, at the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration, everyone joins in saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag that has flown over the Betsy Ross House, Christ Church of Emporia, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Monticello, the Capitol of Colonial Williamsburg, the Virginia State Capitol, and the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.; and

WHEREAS, after 50 years, the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration is still going strong, with Randi Kei and Bob Wrenn now joined by their spouses, Kevin Kei and Jeannette Arnold Wrenn, in organizing this beloved local tradition; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration on the occasion of its 50th anniversary; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the Wrenn family as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for its contributions to the Emporia community.

Junior

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