A Friday afternoon two-vehicle crash in the vicinity of Dinosaur Land at Double Tollgate in Clarke County claimed the life of a Stephens City woman who was a passenger and seriously injured both drivers.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said in a media release that at 12:20 p.m., Friday, Virginia State Police Trooper K.J. Orr responded to a two-vehicle crash in Clarke County, at the intersection of Route 522 and Route 340.
A 1995 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was traveling east on Route 277, and as the Tacoma crossed through the intersection towards Route 340, it collided with a 2012 Toyota Tundra pickup truck traveling north on Route 522.
The Tacoma pickup truck’s driver, a 69-year-old Stephens City man, was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was transported to Winchester Medical Center and is being treated for life-threatening injuries. His passenger, Gladys A. Hamilton, 90, of Stephens City, died at the scene. She was wearing a seat belt.
A 37-year-old Front Royal, Va. man who was the driver of the Tundra pickup truck, was transported to Winchester Medical Center for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. Trooper Orr reported that was wearing a seat belt.
The crash remains under investigation at this time, Geller said, and charges are pending.
Over 1500 customers lose power for over seven hours in Linden Sunday
According to the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) the power outage in Linden, on Sunday afternoon, October 25, was reported to be caused by a vehicular accident impacting the Linden substation.
One impacted person on Apple Mountain said they believed two vehicles may have been involved.
Power was lost at 12:36 p.m. and was restored to the 1,509 impacted customers at 7:58 p.m. that evening, an REC employee told Royal Examiner.
Power restoration can be a tricky business.
If you lose service in your home or neighborhood, please remember the following:
• Stay clear of downed power lines. Contact with these lines could be life-threatening.
• Report the outage to REC (or your electric provider) as soon as possible.
• Be sure to inform REC (or your electric provider) if you see damage such as a fallen tree or broken pole.
Town Talk: A conversation with Michelle Smeltzer – Thermal Shelter 2020
Town Talk is a series on Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Michelle Smeltzer from Thermal Shelter of Front Royal and brings us up-to-date with the changes in 2020. The Thermal Shelter is opening Sunday, November 1, 2020.
If you are not familiar with our Front Royal Thermal Shelter, here is some information provided to us by Michelle Smeltzer
“The Front Royal Thermal Shelter gives the homeless of Warren County a place to stay warm during the winter months. The guests are provided supper at about 7:30 each evening, and the volunteers join them. After supper, the volunteers join them, and they play a variety of games, watch TV, or simply lie down on their cots after a tiring day. The following morning several of the churches provide breakfast, and some provide a bagged lunch when they leave for the day. There are separate sleeping areas for men and women, and the program does not allow guests or volunteers with the program until they are at least 18 years of age because they are a no-barrier shelter.
The doors open at 7:00 pm and their guests depart each morning between 5:00 am – 8:00 am.
Services provided include:
A hot dinner provided by volunteers.
Spiritual guidance if requested
Basic first aid
Are you passionate about what they are doing? Let them know! They are always looking for volunteers to help make their vision a reality. They’ll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you.
Please reach out to Michelle Smeltzer at Social Services if you need assistance or have questions about any of the programs discussed. Her telephone number is (540) 635-3430 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
Decomposed body found in shed near Luray Avenue boat landing
On Saturday, October 24, 2020, at approximately 12:34 PM, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office received a call from an area resident about a badly decomposed human body found inside a shed located near the boat landing on the 700 block of Luray Avenue in Front Royal, Virginia. WCSO Investigators arrived on scene and spoke with the complainant, and a second person identified as the property owner.
It was determined that the complainant went to this location hoping to locate an acquaintance from the Front Royal Thermal Shelter whom no one had seen since approximately August 28, 2020, and the man was believed to have been going through rehabilitation for alcohol abuse. It was determined the person being sought had been living inside the shed, which contained a large assortment of alcoholic beverage bottles and personal items.
WCSO Investigators processed the scene and reported that the male decedent was in a state of severe decomposition that prevented immediate identification; however, based upon a tattoo on his back and large collection of personal identification, medications and bills including an expired Virginia driver’s license, it was consistent with the information provided by witnesses about the missing person.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia was contacted and will conduct an examination at a later date. Based upon the evidence at the scene, history of alcoholism and medical problems it is believed no foul play is involved in this death. The cause of the death is pending, and the name of the decedent is being withheld pending those results and notifications with his family. Anyone having additional information is asked to contact WCSO Investigator Jeremy Seabright at 540-635-4128.
Friday morning fire incident and death investigation being investigated as arson/suicide
Just after 3:00am on Friday, October 23, 2020, Fire and Rescue units were dispatched to the 700 block of Northern Spy Drive in the Apple Mountain section of Warren County for a reported house explosion and fire.
Units arrived to find a single story single family dwelling, a detached garage and two vehicles significantly involved in fire. Firefighters also discovered the fire was spreading to the woodland areas surrounding the home. Based on the amount of fire involvement and structural condition of the home, firefighters initiated an exterior/defensive fire suppression operation. Firefighters also worked quickly to ensure the fire was contained and did not pose a risk the surrounding homes. It took firefighters approximately 2 hours to bring the fire under control. Firefighters were challenged with limited access to the home which made fire suppression efforts difficult.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office arrived and began the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire and reported explosion. During the course of the investigation, a human occupant was discovered deceased inside the home. Investigators from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit joined the investigation. It was further determined that the reported explosion(s) were a result of the fire incident spreading to multiple compressed gas cylinders around the home. The deceased occupant was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner where it was determined that the victim sustained a self-inflected gunshot wound. The identity of the victim is pending confirmation from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division led the joint investigation. Agencies received assistance from the Front Royal Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office K-9 Division, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police.
This incident still remains under investigation as an apparent arson/suicide. Anyone with more information about the incident can contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jeremy Seabright at 540-635-4128.
Salvation Army looking for volunteers, workers to ring bells
The Salvation Army Front Royal Corps is gearing up for the annual Red Kettle Campaign, with the familiar cheerful bells ringing out in front of various store fronts throughout the Christmas season. Funds raised throughout the Kettle Campaign go directly back to the local community to support those in need.
The Kettle Campaign is run through a combination of volunteers and paid bell ringers. To sign up to volunteer, or to apply to be a bell ringer, contact Lt. Michael Fadler at 540-635-4020, or go to the Corps Office at 357 Cloud Street.
Those who wish to support the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign online can make a gift HERE.
The Salvation Army Front Royal Corps supports the counties of Warren, Page, and Rappahannock, as well as the city of Strasburg.
Governor Northam allocates CARES Act dollars to help free clinics
Governor Ralph Northam announced, October 23, 2020, that the Commonwealth will use $3 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to reimburse members of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (VAFCC) for clinics’ COVID-19 expenses, including personal protective equipment, sanitation measures, telehealth, and hiring new staff.
“Our free clinics are a critical part of our health safety net, providing care for those with no insurance,” said Governor Northam. “Thousands of Virginians access health care through free clinics, and I am glad we can help support those clinics’ needs at this time. This global health crisis truly demonstrates how important it is that everyone has access to health care.”
Virginia’s free clinics serve an essential role in Virginia’s health care safety net, providing care for free or on a sliding scale to uninsured patients. An estimated 226,000 Virginians with incomes between 139 percent and 300 percent of the poverty level had no health coverage prior to the onset of the pandemic, according to a recent report by the Virginia Health Care Foundation/Urban Institute.
In addition to existing patients, free clinics have seen demand for their services rise, as more Virginians lose jobs and, thus, employer-sponsored health care.
“Virginia’s free clinics are a vital resource for Virginians who lack health insurance,” said Rufus Phillips, CEO of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. “Clinics are filling the increasing need for their services created by the pandemic, but that comes with a cost—at a time when donations are down. We’re happy for our clinics to receive this additional state assistance to help them provide the essential health care every Virginian deserves.”
Clinics operate with small budgets, and the pandemic curtailed regular fundraising events. Expenses that the pandemic made necessary—such as additional personal protective equipment, increased use of telehealth, hiring additional staff to meet demand, and other health modifications—have put a burden on clinics’ budgets. The VAFCC estimates free clinics have incurred an average of $40,000 each in unbudgeted expenses for needs related to the pandemic.
“The pandemic has required us to change how we serve our patients while increasing the number of patients who need our services,” said Anne-Lise Quinn, Executive Director of Culmore Clinic in Falls Church. “The cost of COVID supplies, like PPE and increased telehealth, has had a large impact on the small budgets of free clinics like ours. This support will help us continue to fulfill our mission of ensuring that everyone has access to health care.”
Free clinics have also provided COVID-19 testing and often are seen as a trusted resource for health information to vulnerable populations.