Police targeting drunk drivers
Efforts come on the heels of early-morning alcohol-related traffic fatality
Henrico County Police officials are planning heavy enforcement efforts during the coming Fourth of July weekend, with a particular focus on drunk drivers.
The weekend typically is one of the deadliest holidays nationwide for alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities.
Earlier today, a 37-year-old woman died in a crash in Eastern Henrico that police determined was alcohol- and speed-related. The car's driver, Charles L. Smith of the 200 block of Taylor Road in Sandston, was charged with driving under the influence (his third such offense) and driving while his license was revoked. The crash occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on Meadow Road, when Smith was driving east, drove off the left side of the road,struck a utility pole and drove through a wooden fence.
The vehicle overturned multiple times and came to rest on the passenger side in the woods. Both Smith and the passenger, Tara Lee Mason, were transported to VCU Medical Center. Mason was pronounced dead at 5 a.m. Smith was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
In an effort to prevent similar outcomes this weekend, Henrico officers will be taking part in the "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" enforcement.
Statistics gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the past 25 years show that, on average, nearly half of all deadly traffic crashes over each year's July 4 holiday involved some level of alcohol.
In fact, 410 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationally during the Fourth of July weekend in 2009. Of that number, 40 percent involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
"The Fourth of July is a time most Americans spend celebrating with family and friends, but it is also one of the year's deadliest times on our roadways. So we will be out in force cracking down on drunk driving. If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested," said Sergeant K.R. Burnett.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have made it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
"We want people to be careful all weekend, but particularly at night," said Burnett. "The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 was four times higher at night than during the day."
Impaired driving is one of America's deadliest problems. In 2009 alone, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, accounting for nearly 32 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. That's an average of one impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes in 2009.
Burnett said that impaired drivers not only take the risk of hurting or killing themselves or someone else but also risk the trauma and financial costs that an alcohol-impaired-driving crash or an arrest can create. Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates and dozens of other unanticipated expenses.
"Alcohol impairs many of the skills that safe driving requires. So we will be showing zero tolerance, and anyone caught driving with a BAC of .08 or higher will be arrested," Burnett said. "It's simply not worth the risk to you or to the thousands of innocent victims who are hurt or killed each year by drunk drivers. So if you are over the limit, you will be arrested."
For details, visit http://www.StopImpairedDriving.com .
With a nod to Arbor Day, Citizen seeks photos, descriptions of significant Henrico trees
Citizen Staff Reports 04/28/2015
Do you have a favorite tree in Henrico?
Do you know of a tree with an interesting story?
Do you live near an especially large, old, or otherwise unusual tree – or do you pass by one that has always intrigued you?
Arbor Day 2015 (April 24) was last week, and though the Citizen has published stories about a few special trees over the years (see sidebar) we know that our readers can lead us to more. > Read more.
Henrico's most famous tree, known as the Surrender Tree, still stood for more than a century near the intersection of Osborne Turnpike and New Market Road -- until June 2012.
It was in the shade of that tree on April 3, 1865, that Richmond mayor Joseph Mayo met Major Atherton Stevens and troops from the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry and handed over a note surrendering the city to Federal troops. Evacuation had already begun. > Read more.
The Greater Richmond ARC's annual Ladybug Wine Tasting and Silent Auction on April 11 netted $75,165 to benefit its Infant and Child Development Services (ICDS) program.
About 350 guests sampled fine West Coast wines and craft beer from Midnight Brewery at Richmond Raceway Complex's Torque Club, along with food from local eateries. Carytown Cupcakes provided dessert. > Read more.
A Henrico High School student was one of eight students from Virginia selected as a 2015 student playwright as part of the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community's 26th annual New Voices for the Theater Festival of New Works, which will be held July 10-11 at VCU.
Elaina Riddell of the Center for the Arts at Henrico HS will join the other students and bring her original one-act play to life on stage at the event. In total, 150 plays were submitted to SPARC. Riddell and the other winners will work closely with New York City-based professional playwright Bruce Ward for the event. > Read more.
In the mood for some spring shopping? Eastern Henrico FISH will hold their semi-annual yard sale this weekend – funds raised assist at-risk families in Eastern Henrico County. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will hold a spring plant sale which is among the largest in the region with more than 40 vendors selling plants ranging from well-known favorites to rare exotics. Put on your detective hat and find out “whodunnit” at the movie “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and “The Case of the Dead Flamingo Dancer,” presented by the Henrico Theatre Company May 1-17. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
It’s that time of year – charity races are popping up everywhere! On Saturday, St. Joseph’s Villa will be the site of the sixth annual CASA Superhero Run and the fifth annual Richmond Free to Breathe Run/Walk will be held in Innsbrook. Also in Innsbrook, the 2015 Richmond Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis will take place on Sunday. If you’re more into relaxation than exercise, check out Wine for Cure’s Dogwood Wine Festival or the Troubadours Community Theatre Group’s production of “West Side Story” at the Henrico Theatre. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarThe Henrico Theatre Company will present “The Case of the Dead Flamingo Dancer” May 1-17 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Evening performances start at 8 p.m. while… Full text