DICKENSON COUNTY ADDS DRIVE-THRU VOTING
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.
OHIO MAN SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS FOR AGGRAVATED MANSLAUGHTER IN COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DWI CASE
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.
CLINTWOOD MAYOR PASSES AWAY
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.