Week in Loudoun

Week in Loudoun

Online Questionnaires

<bt>The Loudoun Circuit Court Jury Office is offering an online registration process to respond to juror questionnaires that are mailed out to more than 30,000 Loudoun citizens. The online service became operational Aug. 29. Responses are maintained in the office's database, which is used to determine the qualification of prospective jurors to serve on a jury in a circuit court trial.

The new computer program makes the processing of the questionnaires more efficient for the jury manager and the jury staff. The computer program will reduce the amount of time it normally takes to review and process thousands of

paper questionnaire forms.

Citizens who received the questionnaires may complete the paper questionnaire that they received in the mail and return the completed form to the address provided in the questionnaire. Citizens who received the questionnaires and who have questions about the online system should contact the jury office at 703-777-0677.

<sh>Pool Closed

<bt>The main swimming pool at Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling will be out-of-service for the remainder of the 2005 season due to the rupture of a filtration return line under the pool deck and concession area. The line will be repaired when the facility closes following Labor Day weekend and the entire pool is expected to open on schedule for the 2006 season.

The Downpour Waterpark area of the facility is unaffected by the damaged line and will remain open through Labor Day weekend. Admission fees to the Downpour Waterpark will be reduced to $4 per person and admission will include a round of miniature golf on the newly redesigned deluxe course at Algonkian Regional Park.

Downpour at Algonkian remaining schedule: Aug. 29-Sept. 4,

Monday-Friday, closed; weekends, noon-7 p.m.; Labor Day, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information or to learn more about other NVRPA pool and facilities, visit www.NVRPA.org.

<sh>Safety Inspection Nets Failures

<bt>A truck safety inspection held Thursday, Aug. 25, near

South Riding saw a 57 percent failure rate of the commercial vehicles inspected, according to the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office Motor Carrier Safety Inspection Team checked a total of 30 trucks with 17 being taken out of service for safety violations.

The inspection was held along Gum Spring Road (Route 659) just south of Route 50. A majority of the truck citations issued at the morning inspection were for defective equipment, such as having insufficient tire tread, load violations and driver violations, such as no medical certification or no commercial motor vehicle operators license. A total 17 summons were issued for safety violations. A similar inspection held last month on Route 15 in Lucketts saw 22 trucks inspected, with seven being

taken out of service for safety violations.

<sh>Two Caught in Robbery

<bt>Two men have been charged in connection with an attempted robbery in Sterling Wednesday, Aug. 24, and are considered suspects in a bank robbery that occurred two hours earlier in Leesburg, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

David Owen Smith Jr., 26, of Leesburg, and William Russell Gibson, 33, of Front Royal, were charged with attempted robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, according to the sheriff's office.

Smith is also charged with resisting arrest and simple assault after he fled from a deputy while in custody.

The two suspects were caught near the Shell gas station on Route 7 in Sterling after an alleged attempted robbery at the High-Up Food Mart in the Community Plaza. One of the men was said to have brandished a firearm inside the convenience store shortly before 4 p.m. but fled the scene without taking any money.

Smith and Gibson were taken into custody and were placed in separate patrol vehicles to be transported back to the Criminal Investigations Division office in Leesburg to be interviewed about the attempted robbery and their possible involvement in the robbery of the M&T Bank in Leesburg earlier the same. Around 6:15 p.m., a deputy arrived at the CID office and attempted to remove Smith from his patrol vehicle when Smith pushed open the door and fled the scene on foot into the area of Heritage Square, according to the sheriff's office.

Members of the sheriff's office along with the Leesburg Police Department immediately established a perimeter around the area and called in for aerial search support from the Fairfax County Police Department helicopter. Sheriff's office K9 units located Smith hiding in some bushes about an hour later.

The Leesburg Police Department and the FBI continue to investigate both suspects possible involvement in the Leesburg bank robbery.

Both men were held at the Loudoun Adult Detention Center without bond.

<sh>Remembering the Fallen

<bt>On Aug. 21, 1995, a small commuter plane experienced engine trouble and crashed in a west Georgia hayfield. Among

the 29 passengers on ASA Flight 529 were two Loudoun County Sheriff's deputies.

Investigator Charles H. Barton and Deputy Tod Thompson were on the twin-engine plane heading to Mississippi to return a suspect back to Loudoun. The plane had just taken off from Atlanta when an explosion damaged the left engine. The plane fell at a rate of 5,500 feet per minute before the pilot could regain control.

Nine minutes and 20 seconds into the flight the plane slammed into a field, breaking into several pieces. For the passengers who remained in the back of the fuselage, the only way out was a hole in the plane's body, which was blocked by seats, baggage and flames fed by jet fuel.

Barton and Thompson were among those trapped.

Barton suffered severe burns while helping others off of the plane before leaving himself. He passed away 14 hours later as Thompson stayed at his side.

On Aug. 22, 2005, 10 years to the day of Barton's death, the

Loudoun County Sheriff's Office remembered Barton's life and work with a display case dedicated in his memory.

The display case featured letters from the U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton, Virginia Governor George Allen and posthumous recognitions, a United States flag flown over the House of Representatives in memory of Barton and presented to the Sheriff's Office by U.S. Representative Frank Wolf. In the center of the case is a painted portrait of Barton.

Barton was 57 at the time of his death. He had been a member of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office for eight years and had more than 30 years of law enforcement experience.

<sh>Pesticide Collection Down

<bt>Three-thousand-one-hundred-seventy-two pounds of old and unwanted pesticides were collected in Loudoun County as part of the 2005 Pesticide Disposal Program, a cooperative program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Pesticide Control Board, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services with assistance from local government agencies. In Loudoun, the drop site was at the Loudoun County landfill, where pesticides were packaged by a contractor for transport to disposal sites.

This program was offered free of charge to agriculture producers, commercial pesticide applicator firms and pesticide dealers. Old, outdated and unwanted pesticides were collected and will be disposed of in the proper manner. Eight firms and agriculture producers participated in the program. The amount of pesticide collected this year was down from what was collected during the first program in 2001.

The Pesticide Disposal Program focused on 18 counties and six cities in Northern Virginia and the Northern Neck. This program rotates to different parts of the state on a five-year basis, so it is expected to be offered in Loudoun County again in 2010. To learn more about the Virginia Pesticide Disposal Program, visit www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pesticides/disposal.html.