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Local News

Monday, April 24, 2017
Updated 4/24/17  11:20 am

Gretna man killed in freak accident:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) – A Gretna man was killed when a tree fell on his car Sunday afternoon.
      State Police identify the victim as 65-year-old Nathaniel Tyrone Coles. Authorities say he was driving his car on Route 40 near Tucker Road when a large tree fell and struck the automobile. It happened just after 6 p.m.
      State Police say Coles' wife, 70-year-old Denny Lea Coles, was in the passenger seat. Both were wearing their seat belts.
      The trooper who investigated said speed and alcohol were not factors in the accident.
      Both were taken to the hospital in Gretna, where Nathaniel Coles was pronounced dead. His wife suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover.

Arrest made in Rockingham County robbery:
(Eden, N.C.) – Just two hours after he robbed a Rockingham County convenience store, authorities arrested a 38-year-old suspect.
     A clerk at the J Mart on East Stadium Drive reported the robbery at around 4:15 Saturday morning.
     Rockingham County sheriff’s investigators arrested Christopher Michael Martin without incident at 6:30 that morning.
      Martin is charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was taken to the magistrate’s office and jailed under a $50,000 secured bond. Martin is scheduled to appear in court on May 10.

Fire destroys former furniture factory:
(Martinsville, Va.) – The cause of a fire that destroyed the former American of Martinsville furniture building remains under investigation.
      Firefighters were called to the Aaron Street location just after 5:00 Saturday afternoon and were on the scene throughout the night.
       While the area was under a severe thunderstorm watch at the time, investigators say the fire was not caused by a lightning strike.
      The building housed Bargains Galore and officials say neither the owner nor the tenant had insurance.  
      Rains helped contain the fire, as firefighters from Martinsville, Collinsville, Ridgeway and Fieldale pumped water on the flames. Hot spots were still smoldering Sunday.
     The fire marshal says it may take some time to determine a cause.

Shootout in Eden parking lot leaves two wounded:
(Eden, N.C.) -- Two men were hospitalized after they were wounded in a hail of gunfire in an Eden parking lot Saturday morning.
     
Police responded to Summers Bar & Grill on the 200 block of W. Kings Highway and found cars hit by gunfire and evidence that multiple rounds had been fired. 
     Police said two groups of people were firing shots at each other across the parking lot.
     As police were pursuing a car thought to have been at the shooting scene, two people were brought to the emergency room of Morehead Hospital, both suffering from gunshot wounds. 
      Benjamin Joseph Evans, 21, from Greensboro and David Lashawn Blackwell, 24, from Reidsville were transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. 
      The Eden Police Department is asking anyone with information to contact authorities.

Abbott St. fire ruled arson:
(Danville, Va.) – An early morning fire on Abbott Street was set intentionally. The Danville Fire Marshal has ruled arson as the cause of a fire at 1112 Abbott Street.
      Firefighters responded to the address just before 5:00 Saturday morning and found flames shooting through the roof of the single-family home. Crews searched the interior but quickly determined that the house was unoccupied.
     The fire was contained but damage to the building is described as “significant.” Three engines, a ladder truck and support personnel responded to the house fire, along with Danville Police and the Danville Life Saving Crew. There were no injuries.
    The fire marshal’s office is continuing its investigation.

Man arrested for threatening to burn church:
(Danville, Va.) – A Danville man has been arrested by authorities in Pittsylvania County after he allegedly threatened to burn down a church and kill its members.
     51-year-old Roy Womack is charged with communicating threats to burn a structure. Police say he used social media to post threats to burn a church to the ground and to kill members of the congregation. Police say the threats started in February.
     Danville police issued an appeal for Womack's arrest early Saturday and reported that afternoon that he had been taken into custody in Pittsylvanis County. He was was being held in the Chatham jail. The initial news release said Womack was considered armed and dangerous “and is also reported to be displaying signs of mental illness.”
    
Averett launches multi-million dollar capital campaign:
(Danville, Va.) – A tent was erected and banners were hung over historic Main Hall as Averett University officially launched a $28 million capital campaign Thursday. The money will be used to renovate the century-old building and to continue campus expansions.
    The public phase of the campaign starts immediately, as Averett begins an ambitious, 10-year effort to give the Main Street campus a facelift. Main Hall will be the first building to undergo a makeover.
      Renovations will be aided through an anonymous, $2.5 million gift. The college is looking to raise another $2 million over the next twelve months. Plans call for renovations to begin by the summer of next year, with completion slated by the start of the 2018-19 academic year.

Wisconsin stepmother charged in the death of a Danville toddler:
(Rhinelander, Wis) – 28-year-old Ellen Tran, the stepmother of a 20-month-old Danville boy, is being held in a Wisconsin jail after being charged with murder in the child’s death.
     A criminal complaint says Avery Edward died of blunt force trauma to his head. The boy’s father told investigators his son fell in the shower, but a child abuse expert said the injuries were inconsistent with a fall.
     The child’s father said he picked up his son up in Danville for visitation on April 1 and that the boy "had not been bonding well" with the stepmother.
      The toddler was taken to St. Mary's Hospital Friday and later flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, where he died.
     Tran told investigators she could not remember details of the incident. She is being held on $50,000 cash bond and is charged with second-degree reckless homicide. Her attorney is seeking dismissal of the charges.
 
Work begins to determine cause of Tuesday night fire:
(Chatham , Va.) – The Pittsylvania County Fire Marshal does not suspect foul play in a Tuesday night fire that gutted the Phillip Craft Home on Old Red Eye Road. The house is owned by Henry Hurt and was used as his office for two decades. The building is designated as a national historic landmark.
      The house was built between 1801 and 1819. A newer addition was destroyed by the fire, but the older, brick portion of the landmark was left standing.
     Pittsylvania County Fire Marshal Steve Bowman said he was no reason to suspect foul play but he is waiting until the rubble cools to complete his investigation.
 
McAuliffe spares life of death-row inmate:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has called off a man's execution in a murder-for-hire case, citing concerns about some of the information presented to jurors.
     The Democratic governor commuted 38-year-old Ivan Teleguz's sentence to life in prison Thursday.
     McAuliffe cited concerns about information presented to jurors that he said is not supported by evidence, including that Teleguz was part of the "Russian Mafia."
     Teleguz had been scheduled to be executed Tuesday. He was convicted in 2006 of hiring another man to kill his ex-girlfriend in Harrisonburg.
     After his trial, two prosecution witnesses who implicated Teleguz said they lied. The man convicted of fatally stabbing Stephanie Sipe in 2001 has maintained that Teleguz hired him to do the killing.
     Sipe's sister has said her family remains convinced Teleguz is guilty.
 
UVA to increase tuition next year:
 (Charlottesville, Va.) (AP) -- University of Virginia students will be paying more for tuition next year.
     UVA's Board of Visitors approved the increase Thursday. In-state students will pay 2.2 percent more, and out-of-state students will pay 3.5 percent more.
     The university said in a statement that the increase is needed to deal with a state budget cut and required employee pay raises.
     TV station WVIR reports a group of students protested outside the building where the Board of Visitors was meeting.
 
PATHS opening South Boston office today:
(South Boston, Va.) -- The new Piedmont Access to Health Services location in South Boston opens today. This will be PATHS fifth community health center, with others in Danville, Martinsville, Chatham and Boydton.
      PATHS CEO Kay Crane said renovations should be finished this week, with the clinic seeing patients on Monday.
      The new facility was made possible by a $775,000 federal grant. Crane said the location will provide residents of South Boston and Mecklenburg County with quality health care at an affordable cost.
      Nurse Practitioner Karen Hill will be seeing adult patients and Dr. Samantha King will provide pediatric care starting May first.
       An open house for the public will be held next month.

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