Public Safety

  • Crouse among five Virginia police officers lost in 2011

    WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Virginia lost five law enforcement officers during 2011, a year when gun violence against police spiked nationwide, according to a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
    Preliminary information released Dec. 28 found that 173 officers had been killed in the line of duty in the past year.
    This is up 13 percent from the 153 officers who died in 2010, according to the report.

  • Woodlawn fire destroys home

    WOODLAWN — A Wednesday afternoon fire destroyed a home at 173 Arabian Lane.

    Hillsville and Galax firefighters responded to the scene, but much of the home was already consumed by the flames by the time they arrived.

    Hillsville Fire Chief Donnie Spangler said there were no injuries reported and no one was in the house at the time of the fire.

    The cause is undetermined. The house is a total loss.

    The Gazette will post more details as they become available.

  • Tractor-trailer crashes, explodes on I-77

    A driver was injured and traffic snarled on Interstate 77 in Carroll County on Friday after a tractor-trailer ran wrecked and exploded.
    According to Virginia State Police, the accident occurred around 2:30 a.m. at mile marker 22 on I-77’s northbound lane near the Wythe County line.
    The report said the driver of an 18-wheeler lost control in the curve, most likely because his load shifted. The tractor-trailer went through a guard rail and down the embankment.
    It exploded and caught fire.

  • Wreck results in injuries, fuel spill

    LAUREL FORK — A driver was injured and more than 300 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday after a tractor-trailer plowed into a vehicle on U.S. 58 in Laurel Fork.
    According to a Virginia State Police report, 54-year-old Randy Bowman of Meadows of Dan had to be airlifted from the scene. Bowman was traveling west on 58 when he stopped his Ford F-150 pickup truck to turn in to the Laurel Fork Post Office.
    As Bowman turned, a tractor-trailer traveling behind his vehicle was not able to stop.

  • Galax woman killed in I-77 crash

    A 59-year-old Galax woman died Wednesday in a traffic accident on Interstate 77 in Bland County.

    According to Virginia State Police, Patricia Ann Austin (who also went by the last name Blankenship) of Tower Road in the city was killed when her vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer.

  • Suspect shoots self when stopped by police

    DOBSON, N.C. — A North Carolina man suspected of stealing a firearm in Carroll County fatally shot himself on Dec. 16 after he was approached by officers.
    According to information from the Surry County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Department, Anthony Lee Watson, 27, of Dobson, N.C., shot himself in the head with a handgun after officers followed a car he was riding in. The officers were attempting to arrest him on the Carroll County gun larceny warrant and charges in Surry County and Mount Airy, N.C., that included possession of stolen property.

  • Jewelry stolen from Fancy Gap home

    Police in Carroll County are searching for a suspect after someone broke in to a Cana home on Friday morning and took several jewelry pieces.
    This happened at the home of Ollie McCreary, located at 1281 Fancy Gap Highway.
    According to police, when McCreary returned home from breakfast, she saw someone inside of her home. The suspect fled when she entered the house.
    Donnie Spangler of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said the breaking and entering case is still under investigation.

  • Gun used in Crouse shooting obtained legally


  • Three hunters charged

    Three hunters have been charged in connection with an alleged deer spotlighting incident that occurred in the Flat Ridge community of Grayson County on Nov. 25.
    Spotlighting — using lights to hunt deer at night — is illegal in Virginia.
    Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris charged the following:
    • Roy McKinley Payne of Galax, charged with spotlighting deer, no hunting license, no big game stamp

  • Man charged with burglaries