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Weather cooperates for busy holiday weekend on the lake

SoVaNow.com / May 28, 2014


Warm sunny weather greeted visitors who flocked to campgrounds around Buggs Island Lake over the Memorial Day weekend. Most swimming areas — except Longwood and Grassy Creek Parks — that were previously closed due to high water were reopened to accommodate the crowds, said Sherry Storm, chief ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,.

There was one incident report where someone slipped and bumped their head, but no serious injuries or fatalities, said Storm.

Boaters were cautioned to watch out for floating debris that collected in spots around the lake, remnants of last week’s rainstorm. Most of the problem areas, which according to what Storm observed involved accumulations of waste near boat ramps, were cleared by Rangers before the weekend began.

Rangers issued several warnings — noise complaints, dogs off leases and some alcohol - but no citations, said Storm adding that the corps prefers warnings over punishment and fines.

Sheriff Bobby Hawkins said while deputies were kept busy responding to minor complaints, there were no major problems over the course of the holiday weekend. In Clarksville, there was a single incident reported when a driver drove over a woman’s foot in the parking lot of the Food Lion grocery store on Virginia Avenue.

Virginia State Police reported a single fatal crash in the area on Sunday, May 25 at approximately 1:29 a.m.

The crash happened on Route 659, west of Route 658 in Brunswick County.

Sgt. Michelle Anaya with Virginia State Police said 32-year-old Tawain J. Montague of Broadnax, Va. ran off the road, over corrected and flipped, hitting a mailbox and a tree. He died at the scene. Anaya said it is unknown if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Across the state, eight people lost their lives in eight traffic crashes according to preliminary reports for the 2014 Memorial Day weekend, down from last year’s nine fatalities, and 11 fatalities in 2012.

The other seven fatal traffic crashes occurred in the counties of Charles City, Cumberland, Giles, Hanover, Northumberland, Scott and Spotsylvania.

In an effort to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths over the Memorial Day weekend, the Virginia State Police stepped up patrols as part of the annual Operation C.A.R.E., (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), which began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 23, 2014, and ended at midnight Monday, May 26, 2014.

Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program that encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays. The stepped-up law enforcement operation was part of the new, nationwide Drive to Save Lives (#DrivetoSaveLives) campaign that aims to not only reduce traffic fatalities by 15 percent in 2014, but to also increase officer safety for those on patrol. To achieve a 15 percent reduction in the Commonwealth, there must be 111 fewer traffic deaths on Virginia’s highways this year.

During the 2014 Memorial Day weekend, Virginia State Police troopers stopped 13,829 speeders and another 3,136 reckless drivers statewide. In addition, troopers arrested and charged 142 drivers for DUI. Troopers also cited 1,241 safety belt violations and 340 child safety seat violations. State police investigated a total of 463 traffic crashes, including the eight which were fatal.

“The summer travel season is now officially upon us,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Our figures indicate there were 10 fewer traffic crashes this Memorial Day Weekend compared to 2013, which is encouraging considering the forecasts for record travel volume over the holiday. However, more than 140 individuals still chose to drive impaired, several thousand chose to speed, and more than 1,200 failed to buckle up. Attitudes and behaviors must change if Virginia is going to reach its goal of 111 fewer traffic deaths by the end of 2014.





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