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Public Safety

  • River North prison security level set

    INDEPENDENCE — River North Correctional Facility in Independence is a lock to be a Security Level 4 prison when it is fully operational, according to Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) officials.
    According to the DOC website, a Security Level 4 facility contains inmates with long-term, single, multiple and life-plus sentences. Inmates in these facilities must show no disruptive behavior for at least the past 24 months prior to be considered for a transfer to any less secure facility.
    Level 4 is not considered maximum security.

  • Arrest Reports 7/15/13

    The Gazette is partnering with local police departments to publish photos of suspects arrested and charged.

  • Arrest Reports 7/12/13

    The Gazette is partnering with local police departments to publish photos of suspects arrested and charged.

  • Items stolen from travelers' cars at Exit 14

    HILLSVILLE ― Town police are seeking help from citizens to solve a break-in and theft from two travelers’ vehicles parked at Shoney's at Interstate 77's Exit 14 on July 5.
    During a day marked by high Fourth of July holiday week traffic, someone broke a window in two different vehicles from New York and took several items of electronic equipment from inside, according to Hillsville Police Chief Greg Bolen.

  • State changes crash reporting policy

    RICHMOND — Citing tens of thousands of requests from parties involved in vehicle crashes, attorneys and insurance companies, the Virginia State Police announced July 2 it has turned over releasing all accident reports to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, according to a news release.
    A change made by the General Assembly has led to the DMV becoming the “sole source for distribution of FR300P accident reports completed by state law enforcement agencies in Virginia” through the DMV website, according to Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the state police.

  • Ohio man killed in U.S. 58 wreck

    HILLSVILLE — An Auburn Township, Ohio, man died in a head-on crash Sunday at 6 p.m. on U.S. 58, just east of the Snake Creek bridge.
    Virginia State Police identified the man as 62-year-old Mark C. Brostek, according to a report by Trooper Dean Horton.
    Both the Laurel Fork and Hillsville fire departments were called to the scene to help with extrication of patients from the GMC Sierra driven by Brostek and the other vehicle involved, a Ford Econoline van driven by James A. Martin, 43, of Columbus, Ohio.

  • Beware of 'cloned' Facebook friends

    A Southwest Virginia resident logged on to Facebook and saw a new friend request from an old friend. Normally she would be excited for the invite, but there was one small problem.
    Her friend was blind and no longer owned a computer. Someone was using her account.
    The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia warns consumers about a new Facebook scam that uses clones of profiles to gain personal information.

  • Tougher penalties for texting while driving

    A stricter law on texting while driving took effect in Virginia July 1.
    The General Assembly this year revved up the state’s 4-year-old ban on typing or reading text behind the wheel, making the activity a primary offense and raising the fine for first-time offenders to $125 from $20.
    Subsequent violations are now punishable by a fine of $250, rather than $50.
    Before, police had to have another reason, such as speeding, to stop a driver and issue a ticket for texting. That no longer is required.

  • Grayson men killed in accidents

    Two Grayson County men were killed in separate accidents last week, and both died after being pinned under vehicles.
    On the afternoon of June 26, Earl Bronson Cornett, 70, was mowing his yard on Gem Stream Road in Elk Creek.
    According to a report by Sgt. Arnold Peters of the Grayson County Sheriff's Department, Cornett was mowing a steep bank when his tractor went over a wall, trapping him under it.
    According to the report, an EMT was on the scene in four minutes and found no pulse.

  • Grayson will back new police positions

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County Supervisors approved a plan on June 27 that would accept grant money to add two school resource officers and a crime prevention officer to the sheriff department.
    Earlier this month, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that Grayson was among 24 localities that received a grant from the state Criminal Justice Services Board, which would pay a portion of the salaries and benefits for two additional school resource officers (SROs).