Top Headlines Feb. 28

By: Kitty Capelle
By: Kitty Capelle

These are the most popular headlines on for Feb. 28. Stories with available video will have links in the headline.

Harrisonburg Corrections Officer Praised for Helping During Car Accident


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia Department of Corrections officer is being praised for coming to the aid of four young people in an overturned car in a creek during a snowstorm.

The department says Officer Willie Thompson was heading home after finishing his Feb. 17 shift at the Harrisonburg Men's Detention Center in Rockingham County.

Thompson had stopped to remove a vehicle's bumper from a road when he heard screaming coming from below a bridge. He discovered four young people in the car and helped three of them up the bank and into his vehicle.

Thompson stayed with the fourth victim, who remained trapped and was suffering from hypothermia. Rescue workers extracted her from the car and all four survived.

Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke says Thompson demonstrated physical courage and valor.


Crews Work for Hours After Dump Truck Takes Down Power Lines


Utility crews continue to work Wednesday night after a dump truck accident knocked down wires.

One by one, drivers were detoured Wednesday night.
The way home, blocked by a road closed sign.
Ashton Howard was one of many neighbors who had no idea what happened.

"I seen cars turning around so I figured I might as well do the same," said Howard.

Even the pizza guy had to figure out another way around.

"The road is blocked off and I gotta get over there," said pizza delivery driver Ricky Silver.

Crews are working to replace utility lines. Wednesday morning, the driver of a dump truck went through the intersection with the truck bed raised up. That took out the traffic light along with power, cable and phone lines.

"I'm guessing that must have been pretty wild for anybody who saw that," said Howard.

Joan and Joe Williams heard the commotion and saw what happened next.

"There was a loud boom. Power lines, swaying back and forth, and actually power poles going back and forth," said Joan Williams.

Although the repair work has been an inconvenience for people trying to drive through, some people who live around here say, it hasn't been that bad.

"They're doing a good job and working hard," said neighbor Michelle Bolla.

Crews are trying to get cable, internet and phone services working again.

"We don't get to watch the news to see what's going on, our wi-fi is down, so it kinda limits things, but thankfully the electricity is on," said Bolla.

But Bolla doesn't mind being briefly cut off from the world.

"To be honest it's been nice to have a quiet street today," said Bolla.

It could be until about 2 a.m. Thursday when crews finish working, that's the most recent estimate.

The driver of that truck, Dorman Mongold, faces several charges including reckless driving.


Family Pleads for Dog from Animal Services to Help Autistic Son


AUGUSTA COUNTY -- Oz, Helen Brackenridge's dog, helped her son deal with autism for years. On Wednesday, Oz was at the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services center for killing another dog 10 days prior. Brackenridge said she's sorry for the other dog's death.

The Brackenridge family noticed Oz's absence.

“He has a very positive impact on our family, and we just miss him so much,” said Brackenridge.

Brackenridge said her son's autism improved after getting Oz three years ago. Now that he's gone, her son has trouble focusing, communicating and thinking.

“Now, he's shut down, and we don't know what to do about it. It's had a huge impact on him.”

She said Oz's absence erased 10 years of working on her son's autism.

“I feel hopeless and helpless. It breaks my heart to see my children and my child go through this. As a mother, I can't eat. I can't sleep. I can't concentrate. I've been sick since this happened, and it's killing me inside.”

Waynesboro City Manager Michael Hamp II works with the animal center. He said the family's petition to release the dog is misguided.

“While I appreciate the spirit of petitioning and the right to be heard, really, that needs to occur in a court setting,” said Hamp.

Brackenridge said Oz brought joy to her family and she wants to see her son's situation improve. That's what she says Oz can do.

“That's what our concern is, and that's what it means to us.”

The Brackenridge family will go to Augusta County General District Court on Thursday.






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