Evan Jones

A Rocky Mount man is charged with fleeing a traffic stop on foot – and possessing methamphetamines when he was caught. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says it happened last week when a deputy on patrol noticed 32-year-old Ricky Hughes, who was wanted on a grand larceny charge. Hughes is now jailed without bond.

From the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office: On May 8, 2019 just before 3:00 PM, a deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was east bound in Rocky Mount on Tanyard Rd. when he observed 32-year-old Ricky L. Hughes of Rocky Mount operating a black GMC pickup. Hughes was wanted on an outstanding grand larceny charge out of Franklin County.  As deputies attempted to stop Hughes, he sped into a convenience store parking lot, where he jumped out of the vehicle and ran on foot. Deputies pursued Hughes and were able to take him in to custody following a brief foot pursuit.  Hughes was found to be in possession of a white crystalline substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. In addition to the outstanding grand larceny warrant, Hughes was charged with; possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I or II narcotic, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, reckless driving and eluding law enforcement. Hughes is currently being held at the Franklin County Jail without bond.


ASPCA photo

An area spay and neuter clinic is asking for help to sterilize feral cats. They’ll provide the traps and do the work for free, but they need people to bring the cats in. Mountain View Humane in Christiansburg will conduct the surgeries May 29 and June 12. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

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Click here for full information from Mountain View Humane

A southwest Roanoke County family of four is displaced after a house fire heavily damaged their home. Fire officials say the first crews to arrive along the 5400 block of Starkey Road found heavy black smoke coming through the home’s front and roof. There are no injuries reported, and the cause is not yet determined. As a result of the fire, Roanoke County Public Schools are unable to run normal school bus routes along this section of Starkey Road. School officials say students who live there will be held in their schools so that parents can pick them up. In addition, some other buses that run in that area may be delayed.

From Roanoke County Public Schools: Currently, Starkey Road is closed between the north intersection of Crescent Blvd. and the intersection with South Mountain Road due to a structure fire. Buses are not able to access this portion of Starkey Road. Those students who live on this section of Starkey Road will remain at school so that parents can pick up these students when the school day ends. The following bus routes also may be running late due to the rerouting of buses around the road closure:
Clearbrook: Bus 183
Penn Forest: Bus 190
Cave Spring Middle/High: Bus 136

Roanoke County Fire and Rescue news release: Roanoke County Fire and Rescue responded at approximately 1:15 p.m., on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 to the 5400 block of Starkey Road, in the Cave Spring area of Roanoke County for the report of a residential structure fire. Upon arrival, units found heavy black smoke from the front and roof of a single family home. Crews had the fire under control in approximately 30 minutes. There was one adult at home at the time of the fire who escaped with two family pets. There were no injuries. The home is occupied by a family of four and they will be displaced. The American Red Cross is assisting the family. Crews from Cave Spring, Clearbrook, and Back Creek, all responded to the fire. The Roanoke County Fire Marshal’s office is on-scene to investigate a cause and provide a damage estimate.

Photo: Ryan Clark

UPDATE:Two families have identified those who were also killed in the blast at the South River Market in Buena Vista last week. Authorities say besides 69-year-old Roger Roberts the owner, his son Kevin Roberts, and his granddaughter Samantha Lewis were also killed in the blast. Paul Ruley a regular customer also died as a result of the explosion.


PREVIOUS: MONDAY PM UPDATE FROM STATE POLICE: Roger Lee Roberts, 69, of Buena Vista, Va. was one of the four that were injured; Mr. Roberts succumbed to his injuries Saturday morning (May 11) at the VCU Medical Center.  The remains of the three unidentified bodies have all been transported to the Officer of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke, Virginia for examination, autopsy and positive identification to be made. Confirming the individuals’ identities could take several days.


SATURDAY PM UPDATE FROM STATE POLICE: The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation can confirm that three set of remains have been recovered from the site of yesterdays explosion and fire, at the South River Market in Rockbridge County. Those remains have been transported to the Medical Examiner’s for identification, which may take several days.

The Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation is treating the fire as a criminal investigation due to the fact that the cause of the fire is unknown. Until criminal activity is ruled out, this will be treated as a criminal matter as is standard procedures under such circumstances.

EARLIER SATURDAY: Two people are confirmed dead, and with others still unaccounted for at last report, investigators will continue a methodical search Saturday through what is left of  Buena Vista gas station and market. As of  8:30 am Saturday, police had not yet released the name of the two known victims. Four others were taken for hospital treatment.

Investigators are also working to determine what cause the fatal blast.

PREVIOUS: State Police are investigating the cause of an explosion and fire today at a gas station outside Buena Vista in Rockbridge County. Witnesses say they heard a large boom at the South River Market, and moments later, the gas station was ablaze. Four people were transported for hospital treatment. The Red Cross says it is sending multiple disaster responders to help those impacted by this morning’s fire and explosion.

From Virginia State Police: At approximately 9:50 a.m. this morning, Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office and Rockbridge County Fire and Rescue was called to the scene of an explosion. The incident occurred at the South River Market on Old Buena Vista Road at its intersection with South River Road in Rockbridge County. At the request of the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Salem, is conducting an investigation into the cause of the explosion, and at this time it does not appear suspicious in nature. At this stage police and fire crews are working to account for all the individuals that may have been located in the building at the time of the explosion. Four adults have been transported to Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital and are being treated for injuries. More information will follow as it is obtained.

Photo: Roanoke police

Roanoke City Police are seeking a suspect or suspects for two armed robberies over the weekend – the first Friday night on the 600 block of Liberty Road Northeast, the second Sunday night on the 600 block of Moorman Avenue Northwest. Police say in both cases, a man who walked in, pulled out a handgun and demanded money. The stores are not named, but only retail businesses on those blocks are the Snappy Mart on Liberty and A and A Market on Moorman.

From Roanoke City Police: On May 11, 2019 just before 8:00pm, Roanoke Police responded to a robbery call at a business in the 600 block of Liberty Rd NE. Investigation shows that an unidentified male entered the business where he subsequently displayed a small handgun and demanded money. After obtaining an undetermined amount of money the subject fled the area on foot toward the Williamson Rd area.

On May 12, 2019 just before 10:00pm, Roanoke Police responded to a robbery report at a business in the 600 block of Moorman Ave NW (pictured in photo at left). Investigation shows that a male entered the business with his face covered displaying a firearm and demanded money. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money, the subject fled the area on foot. This is an ongoing investigation.

These are ongoing investigations. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call (540)344-8500 and share what you know. You can also text us at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.



A new AAA survey suggests many Americans are willing to consider buying an electric-powered vehicle, but less than half believe most vehicles on the road in ten years will actually be electric. The main concerns surround the cost of battery repair or replacement, how far a charge will take you and availability of charging stations.WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

05-13 Electric Vehicles Wrap1-WEB


Image: Liberty University

Vice-President Mike Pence told Liberty University’s 2019 graduating class that freedom of religion is under assault in the United States, and attacks on people of faith must stop. Pence delivered the commencement ceremony’s keynote address at Williams Stadium, two years after President Trump spoke to the 2017 graduates. Pence said the Trump administration will always work to protect religious liberty. Here is a portion of  his address:

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UPDATE News Release: On 5/9/19, the Crime Analyst with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office sent out a bulletin to the Sheriff’s Office in reference to a stolen utility trailer out of Roanoke County. One of the Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office recognized the truck in the pictures from a previous encounter and soon developed 28-year-old Donovan L. Hodges of Rocky Mount as a suspect in the larceny. An address on Patti Rd. was determined to be the last known address for Hodges. After speaking with Mr. Hodges, deputies were able to locate the stolen trailer. While working with an Investigator from the Roanoke County Police Department, deputies on scene at Patti Rd. learned of an additional utility trailer that had been stolen from Roanoke County two days earlier. Deputies were able to locate the second trailer at the address on Patti Rd. Both stolen trailers were recovered, and charges will be filed against Donovan L. Hodges in Roanoke County. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be pending.

PREVIOUS: Roanoke County Police say the two separate construction trailers that were stolen this week on the same neighborhood block in Roanoke County have been recovered in Franklin County. Suspects have been identified but no formal charges have yet been filed. Police say both trailers were stolen from the Mason’s Crest subdivision just off Merriman Road near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Posted 05/09/19 — Roanoke County Police hope home surveillance video will help them solve two separate construction trailer thefts this week on the same neighborhood block. Police say both occurred in the Mason’s Crest subdivision just off Merriman Road near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

News release: On May 6 & 7, 2019 the Roanoke County Police Department was called to investigate two separate construction trailer thefts in the 7000 block of Linn Cove Ct in Roanoke County.  On one particular incident there was video obtained from a citizen of the theft occurring.  Any help from the public identifying the vehicle owner and the suspect in the surveillance video is greatly appreciated.  If you recognize this suspect or have knowledge of the vehicle, please call Detective Finney at 540-777-5269.