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Votes

Week in Loudoun

Find a Ride

<bt>Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) has added a program, Find a Ride, to his Web site, which helps link commuters. The program uses home and work ZIP codes to match people interested in carpooling. Visit www.delegatebob.com/findaride.cfm. For questions about the program, contact Marshall, 703-361-5416 or e-mail bobmarshall@delegatebob.com.

<sh>Charges Dismissed

<bt>An Albemarle County General Traffic Court judge threw out charges against two deputies stemming from a January crash involving two Loudoun County vans that were transporting inmates to the Blue Ridge Correctional Facility, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

The crash took place around 7 a.m., Jan. 26, at the interchange of I-64 and Route 29 in Albemarle County and involved a tractor trailer logging truck. On Monday, May 1, the judge dismissed the charges stating insufficient evidence that the tractor trailer had its lights on at the time of the crash.

Pendred Rose, a nearly 16-year-veteran of the agency, and Robert L. Flood Jr., a nearly five-year veteran, were cleared of reckless driving after being charged in March by the Albemarle County Police Department.

The crash resulted in multiple injures involving several inmates and deputies. Nine of the 12 inmates in the vans were treated and released. The remaining three were treated for more serious injuries but all have since been released. The three Sheriff's deputies who were transporting the inmates were treated and released. The driver of the logging truck was uninjured.

<sh>More Charges

<bt>Two men accused of a Northern Virginia bank robbery spree that occurred in March face additional charges in connection with the robbery of the BB&T bank in Ashburn, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Geoffrey Logan Rogers, 42, of Kentucky, and Ronald Michael Young Jr., 35, of Manassas, were both charged Monday, May 1, with one count of armed robbery and one count of use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to the Sheriff's Office. Last month the two were also charged in Loudoun County with one count of robbery of the Provident Bank in Sterling.

According to reports, the two Loudoun robberies occurred March 30, in a less-than two-hour time span. In the first robbery Rogers is alleged to have walked into the BB&T Bank in the Junction Plaza in the Ashburn Farm area and demanded money from a teller. During the robbery he implied he had a weapon and left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.

At 1 p.m. that same day the suspect is alleged to have walked into the Provident Bank in the Community Plaza of Sterling and again approached a teller and demanded cash. Again the suspect left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Detectives with the Fairfax County Police Department have also linked the men to bank robberies that occurred in the Chantilly area, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The charges come as a joint effort between the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division, the Fairfax Police Department, the Prince William County Police Department, the FBI and members of the community.

<sh>Human Trafficking

<bt>A Loudoun Sheriff's deputy on routine patrol near Waterford uncovered a possible human trafficking ring that has resulted in 14 people being taken into the custody of federal authorities, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The investigation revealed that the group, all of whom are believed to be illegal immigrants, had traveled from the U.S. border in the southwest to Virginia. Each of them is believed to have paid $1,500 for the transportation. Their final destination was unclear.

The possible ring was discovered by a deputy who was driving on Charles Town Pike (Route 9) around 12:15 a.m., Thursday, April 27. In the parking lot of the Waterford Shell the deputy observed a suspicious pickup truck with Oklahoma tags. The deputy shined his light at the Ford F-Series pickup and noticed several occupants inside. Upon further investigation 14 people were found crammed inside the truck. They included three people in the front seat, four in the extended cab area and seven in the bed of the truck. The bed of the truck was covered with a camper shell and had tinted windows.

Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responded to the scene and took all 14 suspects into custody. The suspects included 12 males,

an adult female and a juvenile female.

The investigation into the possible case of human trafficking is being handled by members of ICE. Members of the Loudoun Sheriff's Gang Intelligence Unit and the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force assisted with the initial investigation.

<sh>Honoring Via

<bt>The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is remembering the life and work of Kitty Via, a crossing guard for the agency who was struck by a car and fatally injured 10 years ago this month.

Via oversaw the intersection of East Maple Avenue and South Fillmore Avenue for the children who attended Sully Elementary School in Sterling. Around 7:35 a.m., May 1, 1996, a Sterling woman driving along Maple Avenue was taking her child to the school when she struck Via in the roadway. Via was airlifted to Washington Hospital Center where she died to her injuries two days later.

Via is being remembered for giving her life while protecting the children of Loudoun County. A picture of Via and a plaque dedicated in her memory has been placed in a display case dedicated to the fallen heroes of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

Via was 56 years old at the time of her death. She was hired as a crossing guard by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office in March 1996, less than two months before her death.

The display case also contains items in remembrance of Investigator Charles Barton who lost his life from injuries sustained in a 1995 plane crash. Barton was en route to Mississippi to return a fugitive to Loudoun County when the plane crashed in a west Georgia field. The investigator suffered severe burns while helping others off of the plane before leaving himself.

The display case stands in the main hall of the Loudoun Sheriff's Administrative Office in Leesburg and was created so that the ultimate sacrifice of both Via and Barton will never be forgotten.

<sh>Stabbing at Shelter

<bt>A 50-year-old Centreville man remains hospitalized after suffering stab wounds during an assault Thursday, April 27, at a homeless shelter in Ashburn, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The victim, an employee of the Good Sheppard Alliance Men's Homeless Shelter, 42250 block of Ryan Road, was allegedly stabbed around 10:15 p.m. by a homeless man who was staying at the shelter. The suspect, Abdisalan Hassan Omar, 33, has been charged with malicious wounding, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The stabbing took place in the kitchen area of the shelter after an apparent argument over whether the suspect was allowed to prepare food since it was past the 10 p.m. curfew policy. The suspect then allegedly stabbed the victim.

The victim was taken by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he was initially listed in critical condition. The victim was upgraded and was listed in fair condition as of Friday morning.

Omar was held without bond at the Loudoun Adult Detention Center in Leesburg.

<sh>Legislation Introduced

<bt>U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) introduced legislation to create the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

At a press conference at Oatlands Plantation in Loudoun County in April, Wolf announced that he along with U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) would introduce the measure when Congress reconvened from its Easter recess. The measure would create the nation's 28th national heritage area and generally follows U.S. Route 15 from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Charlottesville to Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

<sh>Report Suspected Price Gouging

<bt>Consumers can report activity at local gasoline filling stations that they believe may constitute "gouging" or "price fixing" by visiting the Department of Energy's (DOE) gasoline price reporting system's Web site www.gaswatch.energy.gov.

Price gouging, price fixing and other forms of collusion by suppliers or retailers may violate federal or state law, and may be subject to prosecution by federal or state enforcement authorities. All complaints registered with DOE are collated and transmitted to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and individual State Attorneys General for investigation and prosecution where appropriate.

Consumers who do not have access to the Internet can report suspicious activity by calling 1-800-244-3301.