Dickenson County has added drive-thru early voting. Voters in the county are now able to pull up and provide identification before receiving the ballot to fill out and submit directly from the vehicle. The option was added for convenience and voter confidence. More than 450 voters in the county have already cast their ballots through the drive-thru option. That represents 7 percent of the eligible 10,150 voters in the county. In 2017, only 34 percent of the county casted a ballot. The option will be available through the early voting period of 5 p.m. Saturday. Election Day is Tuesday, November 2 and on the ballot are statewide races of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General, including local races.
Wise County authorities warn people of email scam. The Wise County Sheriff's Office reports that people have been receiving e-mails and text messages that appear to be from the Virginia Department of Health asking them to validate their vaccination status. The emails say that the Department of Motor Vehicles wants a person to validate their vaccination status. The WCSO has contacted both agencies and confirmed that there is no requirement to validate your vaccination status in Virginia. The sheriff's office urges the public to never share their personal information by text or e-mail unless it is confirmed that it is from a legitimate source.
The Scott County Virginia Rotary Club Has Kicked Off Its 32Nd Annual Shoe Fund Drive. Each Year, The Organization Provides New Pairs Of Shoes And Socks Through Community Donations To Underprivileged Students In County Schools. This Year’S Shoe Fund Goal Is 20-Thousand Dollars. To Learn More, Visit Facebook.Com/Scottcountyrotary
A Two Vehicle Crash In Russell County Has Claimed A Life. It Happened Tuesday Afternoon On Route 80 About Near Route 634 When A Car Traveling East Crossed The Center Line And Struck A Westbound Pick Up Truck Causing The Truck To Run Off The Road Strike A Fence And Overturn. The Driver Of The Truck 65 Year Old Ernie S. Penley Was Ejected From The Vehicle. He Was Taken To The Hospital Where He Succumbed To His Injuries. The Driver Of The Truck 35 Year Old Emily R. Holly Was Transported To The Hospital For Treatment Of Non Life Threatening Injuries. The Virginia State Police Are Continuing To Investigate The Crash.
Travis Lee Tolliver, age 31 of Jackson, Ohio, was sentenced today in the Wise County Circuit Court for crimes that he committed in February 2021 involving a wrong-way driver associated traffic fatality on U.S. Highway 23 in the City of Norton. Tolliver was convicted on August 2, 2021 of aggravated vehicular manslaughter, felony maiming of another in the commission of driving a vehicle while intoxicated with reckless disregard, and driving a vehicle while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty without a plea agreement from prosecutors, meaning that a judge determined the appropriate punishment at the sentencing hearing today.
At the sentencing hearing, the Court imposed a punishment of 26 years in prison with 4 years suspended. Thus, Tolliver will serve an active term of incarceration of 22 years behind bars. He will be placed on 5 years of supervised probation following his sentence.
On February 24, 2021, law enforcement responded to an emergency call of a crash involving a wrong-way driver on Route 23 South over Route 58A at approximately mile marker 43.3 in Wise County. Upon arriving at the crash, law enforcement learned that a 2017 Chevrolet Cruze was in the Southbound lane on Route 23 when it was hit head on by a 1997 International Truck Model # 9400. The Chevrolet Cruze was driven by Amanda Gail Pearson who was maimed in the crash and was flown to Bristol Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. Perry Shea Owens was the passenger in the Cruze, who ultimately succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The International Truck was driven by Travis Lee Tolliver and was traveling in the wrong direction at the time of the crash.
During the investigation Tolliver was interviewed and admitted to operating his commercial truck on the wrong side of the road when he hit Ms. Pearson and Mr. Owens head-on. An analysis of Tolliver's blood by the Department of Forensic Science revealed that Tolliver was under the influence of Methamphetamine, Fentanyl and Amphetamines at the time of crash which resulted in the maiming of Ms. Pearson and the death of Mr. Owens.
Evidence was presented at today's hearing that Tolliver had been previously convicted of larceny, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and drug related charges in Jackson County, Ohio.
The Commonwealth was represented today by Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Steven Davis and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Corey Salyers.
Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Steven Davis explained to the Court, "Under Virginia law, someone operating a motor vehicle with 0.1 or more milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood is presumed to be under the influence. In this case, the defendant had 17 times the presumptive amount in his blood. It's unbelievable that someone with this level of intoxication could barely function, let alone drive an enormous vehicle on the highway."
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "We place the utmost faith and trust in our commercial motor vehicle operators to be the best drivers on the road. Operating a multi-ton truck at high rates of speed is unbelievably dangerous. The utter disregard for the safety of others in this case is unthinkable, driving a big rig while intoxicated by 17 times over the presumptive intoxicated amount of methamphetamine. There are no words to sufficiently describe it. Likewise, to take an innocent life in such a senseless manner is unbelievable. I believe that there is no sentence severe enough to sufficiently punish it and that is why we asked the Court to impose the maximum punishment available under Virginia law."Slemp said, "Our prayers go out to the family of the victim in this case and hope that today's sentence will give them closure."
Various law enforcement agencies participated in this matter including Norton Police Department, Virginia State Police, and Wise County Sheriff's Office. In particular the Commonwealth would like to recognize Senior Trooper Ryan Stiltner who led the investigation in this matter and the diligent efforts of Norton City Police Officer Jason McConnell and the other first responders who provided emergency treatment to the victims at the scene.
Tolliver remains in the custody of the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail at Duffield while awaiting transfer to the Virginia Department of Corrections to begin serving his sentence.
Longtime Mayor of Clintwood passes away. Donald Baker passed away early Thursday morning. Baker was first elected to Clintwood's Town Council in 1980 and had served as Mayor since 1988. He was a longtime advocate for Little League Baseball and served on the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority for 40 years. Donald Baker was 83.
Big Stone Gap, VA – The Pro-Art Association will present the Grammy nominated group The WannaBeatles on Saturday, September 11th at 7:30 p.m. at the Goodloe Center on the campus of Mountain Empire Community College as a part of the W. Campbell Edmonds Concert Series.
The group blends music and comedy to deliver a different kind of Beatles experience, one that receives standing ovations in theaters across the country. Using their impressive multi-instrumental skills, they re-create all eras of the Beatles' songbook as well as their contemporaries, including hits from The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Monkees.
Tickets are available at the door, and are free to students or $15 dollars to the general public. A season ticket to 20+ shows can be purchased for $40 – less than $3 per show. Season tickets can be purchased at www.proartva.org, in person at any show, or by calling 276-376-4520.
Please note that masks are currently required on the Mountain Empire Community College Campus. Pro-Art asks that patrons wear a mask for the duration of the performance.
Pro-Art partners with a variety of venues, therefore individuals with mobility issues are encouraged to call or email the Pro-Art office to make arrangements for parking.For evolving conditions related to the global pandemic, inclement weather, or similar unforeseen circumstances, patrons are encouraged to visit proartva.org or call 276-376-4520 for up-to-date information.
The United Way of Southwest Virginia is working with Buchanan County Emergency Management authorities to provide relief to victims of the floods brought by Tropical Storm Ida to the Hurley Community. The American Electric Power Foundation and the United Way of Southwest Virginia have created a dedicated emergency fund, with all proceeds to go to the effort.
"Today the United Way and the AEP Foundation purchased more than100 lanterns, more than 100 flashlights and the batteries needed to run them," said Travis Staton, president and CEO of the United Way of Southwest Virginia. "We're also looking at purchasing food vouchers, coolers and ice, hopefully in the next few hours as well."
The storm left more than 20 homes uprooted from their foundations, according to media reports. The Buchanan County Sheriff's Department said it rescued around 50 people during the storm.
The United Way and the AEP Foundation are working with Buchanan County authorities to identify unique needs of Hurley, Va., residents. "As the storm was passing over Buchanan County, some students were forced to spend the night at their school because there was simply no way for them to make it home," Staton said. "By working with our local partners in Buchanan County, we can make sure this assistance is distributed to those in greatest need first."
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reminds everyone that many locations are available throughout the region and across the Commonwealth for individuals seeking COVID-19 testing. Testing demand has recently increased across the western region, as cases of COVID-19 are rising due to the more contagious Delta variant.
All COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death. While vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect individuals, families and communities, testing remains an important tool to help identify individuals with illness, protect those around them and monitor trends in COVID-19 infections.
"It's critical that we reserve our hospital emergency rooms and rescue squads for medical emergencies, so if you're seeking a COVID test and it is not an emergency, please utilize other testing locations," said Laurie Forlano, M.D., deputy director, VDH Office of Epidemiology.
VDH recommends that the following people be tested for COVID-19:
Those with symptoms or signs of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.
Those who have had close contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19.
Fully vaccinated people should be tested three to five days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, even if you don't have symptoms.
People who are not fully vaccinated should be tested immediately after an exposure, and again five to seven days following exposure if the first test is negative. Those who participate in activities that are higher risk for COVID-19 exposure (e.g. travel, attending large events where social distancing is not possible, or being in crowded indoor settings).Those who have been referred for COVID-19 testing by their healthcare provider or the health department. Those who plan to travel or who have recently returned from travel with some exceptions for fully vaccinated people. Those who are not fully vaccinated and who plan to visit people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.Those who tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three months and recovered do not need to get tested after exposure as long as they do not have symptoms. VDH has partnered with Walgreens to provide Abbott BinaxNow Rapid antigen testing at no cost, at selected locations. Walgreens pharmacy team members will help you self-administer your COVID-19 test. Test results will be processed at the pharmacy and provided to patients within 24 hours. COVID-19 testing is available by appointment to adults and children ages 2 and older who meet screening criteria for testing. Make an appointment at Walgreens.com/COVID19Testing.Due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, some testing locations may prioritize tests for symptomatic persons or persons with known close contact to a person with COVID-19.For questions about COVID-19 testing or a list of testing locations, visit the VDH website or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.To schedule your vaccine, request a vaccination record or for more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit www.vaccinate.virginia.gov.
The Dickenson County Sheriff leaves Democratic Party. Sheriff Jeremy Fleming announced that he is changing his political affiliation from Democrat to Independent. Fleming is the fourth Southwest Virginia Sheriff to leave the party since 2020, joining Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt, and Buchanan County Sheriff John McClanahan. Two more local officials have left the Democratic Party as well, Russell County Commonwealth's Attorney Zack Stoots and Buchanan County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Addington. Fleming cites "far left-wing extremists" in the Democratic Party as the reason he is changing his political affiliation.