In brief: Get off the tracks, a Klansman’s plea and and a misidentified racist

Photo: Photo:

See tracks? Think train

That’s advice from Dave Dixon, the safety and compliance supervisor of the Buckingham Branch Railroad, who notes the national increase of railroad crossing fatalities this year.

One of them happened here. An Amtrak carrying GOP congressmen smashed into a garbage truck on Crozet
train tracks in January, killing 28-year-old truck passenger Christopher Foley.

In an increased effort to educate drivers, Dixon offers advice for what to do if your car gets stuck on the crossing:

1. Evacuate the car and get away from the tracks.

2. Call the number on the blue sign at the crossing, not 911.

3. If a train approaches, run toward the train at a 45-degree angle and away from the track.

4. Don’t run down track, where the train could knock the vehicle into you.

Other tips:

  • Don’t drive around the gates.
  • Never try to “beat a train.”
  • At private crossings without gates, stop, look and listen before crossing.
  • Before crossing, be sure there’s enough room on the other side to safely clear the tracks.
  • If the gates are down while you’re on the crossing, drive through the gate. It’s designed to break away.
  • Report any malfunctioning gates, lights or other problems to the number on the blue sign.

Preston pleads

Courtesy of an ACLU video

An imperial wizard of Baltimore’s Confederate White Knights of the KKK, who was charged with firing a gun within 1,000 feet of a school at the Unite the Right rally, pleaded no contest May 5, just one day before his trial was scheduled to begin. Richard Preston was aiming his gun at Corey Long, who pointed a homemade flamethrower at the Klansman in a photo that went viral.

High-paying jobs

Ralph Northam

Governor Ralph Northam was in town May 2 to tout CoConstruct, a web-based company in Albemarle that helps custom homebuilders and remodelers manage their projects, and its plans to expand its IT ops and hire 69 new employees, some of whom will earn over $100,000. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball called Charlottesville the “Camelot of Virginia.”

Northam noncommittal on Soering

In his second visit to Albemarle County in five days, Northam was at the Virginia Humanities’ folklife showcase when WVTF’s Sandy Hausman asked him about the pardon petition for Jens Soering amid increased calls from law enforcement supporting Soering’s innocence. Northam said he will stand by the decision of the parole board, which has denied parole 13 times.

Sage Smith episode

DaShad “Sage” Smith

Charlottesville police are still looking for leads in the homicide of Smith, who was last seen November 20, 2012. The disappearance is the subject of an episode on the Investigation Discovery channel show “Disappeared.” “Born this Way” airs at 7pm May 9. Police also seek information on the whereabouts of Erik McFadden, who was supposed to meet Smith the day of her disappearance.

Greene official charged

Larry Snow, Greene County commissioner of revenue, was charged with four felonies for use of trickery to obtain information stemming from a DMV investigation, according to the Greene County Record. Snow, 69, was first elected in 1987. In 2010, he was convicted of practicing law without a license, a misdemeanor.

Bad babysitter


Kathy Yowell-Rohm pleaded guilty to felony cruelty or injury to a child and operating a home daycare without a license after police found 16 children—most with seriously dirty diapers—from a few months old to age 4 in her home last December. She also pleaded guilty to assaulting an EMT in a parking lot at the November 24 UVA-Virginia Tech football game.

Terrys end treestand-off

Mother Red Terry, 61, and daughter Minor Terry, 30, came down May 5 from the trees on their property near Roanoke where they’d been camped since April 2 to protest the Mountain Valley Pipeline after a federal judge found them in contempt and said she’d start fining the Terrys for every day they defied her order.

Quote of the Week

“Out in the fresh air and sunshine, he could just have walked away.” —Judge Rick Moore at the trial of Alex Michael Ramos, who was convicted of the malicious wounding of DeAndre Harris.

Misidentified racist

Don Blankenship, Larry Sabato and MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell

It’s always best if the offended has a sense of humor.

A Huffington Post Instagram account called @huffpostasianvoices posted a photo of UVA’s Larry Sabato along with a story called, “GOP Senate Candidate: ‘Chinaperson’ Isn’t Racist,” referring to Don Blankenship, the West Virginian who recently used the racial slur, and who CNN editor Chris Cillizza has called “the worst candidate in America.”

Sabato did appear in an interview for the story, and on Twitter, he said, “After a loyal former student alerted me to the photo mix up, we reported it and it was quickly corrected.”

Blankenship isn’t his only doppelgänger. Two years ago, reporter Megyn Kelly noted that Sabato looks strikingly similar to the MyPillow infomercial salesman.

Tweeted the founder and director of the university’s Center for Politics, “After all, Don Blankenship, MyPillow guy and I all have a mustache, and everyone knows all mustachioed men look alike.”

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