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Road in Sandston, was charged with driving under the influence (his third such offense) and driving while his license was revoked.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 .
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will host a candlelight vigil of remembrance and hope Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the University of Richmond, outside the Cannon Chapel. The public is invited to attend and join MADD to honor victims of impaired driving crashes, while helping to remind the community to be safe during the holidays. > Read more.
Among participants at the Seventh Annual Coordinators2Inc Golf Tournament and awards luncheon Oct. 3 were (from left) Rebecca Ricardo, C2 Inc executive director; Kevin Derr, member of the winning foursome; Sharon Richardson, C2 Inc founder; and Frank Ridgway and Jon King, members of the winning foursome.
Held at The Crossings Golf Club, the tournament will benefit placement of children from Virginia's foster care system into permanent families through Coordinators2. > Read more.
Event will help kick of Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' campaign
All 140 A.C. Moore locations will serve as drop-off centers this year for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and all toys collected will stay in the local communities served by the stores in which they are donated.
On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Willow Lawn location will kick off the month-long program by hosting a "Make & Take" craft event for kids. Children ages six and older will be able to make a craft and take it home with them. Representatives from the Marines will be in-store to teach customers about the Toys for Tots program. A.C. Moore team members will be on site to help with the crafts. > Read more.
The Dominion GardenFest of Lights Grand Illumination takes place tonight at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! This year’s theme is “A Legacy in Lights: 120 Years from Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden,” which celebrates the Garden’s history. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving again – tomorrow at Henricus Historical Park. More great events – Lavender Fields Herb Farm and Wilton House Museum will both host their holiday open house events this weekend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6,’ lovable robot Baymax delight
It may be time for Olaf to step down as our nation’s reigning cartoon character. Big Hero 6, the latest animated feature from Disney, contains a challenger to the throne: Baymax (Scott Adsit), another lovably chubby white wonder, who will bring joy to children’s hearts and invade every home in America inside a six-foot pile of Disney merchandise.
Big Hero 6 (based ever so slightly on a Marvel comic of the same name) is the story of Baymax – and also his closest companion Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). And then also their four friends, all of whom join together to form the titular superhero team.
At first, though, it’s only Hiro, a young boy and an engineering prodigy, who’d rather spend his time in underground robot fight clubs than do something productive with his gifts. > Read more.
Bella’s feels – and tastes – like Italy should
Short Pump is known for its share of chain restaurants and strip malls, but diners looking for something more distinct can certainly find it without heading downtown or to nearby Charlottesville.
In fact, local husband-and-wife restaurateurs Valeria Bisenti and Doug Muir brought a taste of Charlottesville (and Italy) to Short Pump when they took a chance and opened Bella’s second location in the same shopping strip as Wal-Mart and Peter Chang China Cafe. (Bella’s original location is on Main Street in downtown Charlottesville.)
For a local Italian restaurant, Bella’s is as “Mom and Pop” as its gets. Valeria is Mom, and Doug is Pop. Since its opening about six months ago, diners have been eating rich comfort foods and drinking Italian wines. > Read more.
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