Top 3 Headlines on WHSV.com December 18

These are the most viewed headlines on WHSV.com for December 18. Stories with available video will have a link in the headline.

Fatal Plane Crash In Albemarle County

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Virginia State Police has confirmed that the plane's pilot and only occupant, Gregory A. Voit, 52, of Northfield, N.J., died in the crash in Albemarle County.

At 11:14 a.m. Wednesday, Virginia State Police were called to the scene of the crash on Preddy Creek Road, which is just north of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO).

A single-engine Beechcraft crashed landed in the front yard of a house in the 3100 block of Preddy Creek Road.

As it came down, the aircraft struck several trees before coming to rest approximately 100 feet from the residence. The house was not struck or damaged.

Before the crash, The tower at CHO had received a distress call, and the runway was cleared, but the plane didn't make it.

The six-seater aircraft had left Woodbine Airport in New Jersey and was to land at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport.

A medical helicopter was on the scene, but took off a little after noon without a patient.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The FAA and NTSB have both been notified.

 

Hash Oil Trend Hitting Virginia

Reporter: Carly Stephenson

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Hash oil, it's a growing West Coast drug trend that has made its way to Virginia.

It's already killed one Radford college student and now local drug enforcement agents are on high alert.

"We know it's probably coming to this area. We've dealt with hash oil in a couple of cases that have been brought in from outside areas kind of thing where we tracked the intelligence back, outside of Rockingham County," said Special Agent Mark Campbell with the RUSH Drug Task Force, who is training his officers to recognize hash oil.

It's derived from marijuana and uses THC, the potent chemical in marijuana, to give users a high.

Some of the ingredients in hash oil are legal and sold in stores.

One of those includes butane fuel; however, some stores require you to enter your birth date to purchase the fuel to confirm you are over 18 years old.

One danger of this illegal drug is the threat of an explosion because of butane fuel.

"It could be the static electricity off of your clothes, anything that's an ignition source or anything that will cause a spark," said Campbell.

Just last month, Radford University student Ryan Koon died and Radford Police said a butane hash oil lab caused the house fire.

Campbell said if there was a lab here, the clean up would be handled exactly like a meth lab operation.

"Because the potential for the explosion, the potential for the things to go bad with the gas that's used or the chemicals that are used," said Campbell.

Campbell also said training officers and letting others know the dangers of the drug is key to stopping it.

"Unless you know what it looks like it could mimic an improvised explosion device. They actually look like pipe bombs, if you don't know what you're looking at," said Campbell.

After trying to talk with Koon's parents, his mother said her son's death was just too soon and too raw to talk about.

 

Wildlife Center Opens Bear Care Facility 

Reporter: Garrett Wymer

WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) -- The Wildlife Center of Virginia cut the ribbon on a new, half-million dollar bear enclosure Tuesday.

The enclosure it's the only one of its kind in Virginia.

Tuesday's opening comes as the USDA considers stronger regulatory protection for captive bears.

Ed Clark, the president and founder of the wildlife center, said these enclosures will be used only for getting the bears ready to release back into the wild, calling the facility "simulated wilderness."

"The bears that are confined in this facility will be in a forest environment. They will have trees to climb, bushes to munch on, bugs to eat, the food that they will eat would be the type of food they would eat in the wild, as close to it as we can get," said Clark.

Clark said they hope to move their bears into the new facility in the next week or two.

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