Manslaughter charge, Coke building off the market again, and more on the Bypass: News briefs

The Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue was listed for $2.7 million on April 15, and went under contract last week. File photo The Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue was listed for $2.7 million on April 15, and went under contract last week. File photo

Check daily and pick up a copy of the paper Tuesday to for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve had an eye on for the past week.

Manslaughter charge in Semester at Sea death

Police in Dominica have arrested a man there in connection with the death of UVA fourth-year Casey Schulman, who was killed by a boat propeller while swimming during a Semester at Sea outing last December.

Andrew Armour, identified by the Associated Press as a hotel owner in Roseau, Dominica, was charged with manslaughter last Thursday, according to Dominican News Online. He was allegedly operating the dive boat that backed over Schulman while she was snorkeling near a beach with friends, causing massive injuries.

Schulman, a 22-year-old international affairs student from Falls Church, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Armour runs the dive and whale-watching company that took Schulman and friends on a snorkeling excursion the day she was killed, according to local reports. Known as the “Whale Whisperer,” he has been profiled by the Daily Mail and other publications, which detailed his bond with a sperm whale he says he rescued as a calf.

Armour was not required to make a plea Thursday. He was granted bail, according to reports, and is expected back in court May 14.

Preston Coke building sells 

It’s been less than a month since the old Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue went back on the market, and according to The Daily Progress, it was sold last week.

The 38,000 square foot building was listed for $2.7 million on April 15, and after several offers, went under contract three weeks later. The Progress reported that realtor Bob Kahn could not disclose details, but implied that the buyer was interested in leasing space to commercial tenants.

The building, which stands on a 1.88-acre piece of land, was constructed in 1939, and has undergone two expansions since. Earlier this year it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and Coca-Cola maintained ownership until 2010.

Bypass could be further delayed 

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) pending review of plans for the Western Bypass may be a little longer in coming, thanks to a successful push by descendants of long-buried African-American county residents for more scrutiny of the historic significance of a family graveyard that lies in the path of the road.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has requested the FHWA formally determine whether the cemetery that contains the bodies of Jesse Scott Sammons and other prominent local 19th century African-Americans is eligible for recognition on the National Register of His-
toric Places, Charlottesville Tomorrow reported. If it makes the list, the bypass project could require further review.

The Virginia Department of Transportation had previously told the FHWA it believed the property wasn’t eligible for inclusion on the list based on an evaluation by a third-party consultant. But Sammons descendants and local historians pushed for more consideration, saying the family’s prominence in the post-Civil War free black community in Albemarle should prompt protection of the graveyard.

A VDOT spokesman told Charlottesville Tomorrow that the long-awaited federal environmental review of the Western Bypass will be put on hold while the historic impact of the cemetery is reevaluated. Meanwhile, the ACHP is calling for a stakeholders meeting, so that VDOT and the FHWA can explain the road’s potential impact to descendants and historians.

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