Play is sure to be heavy today at many Virginia Lottery outlets. That’s because tonight’s MegaMillions jackpot is one of the largest in the game’s history: at least $512 million. MegaMillions has been around for 16 years, and this will be just the seventh time in the game’s history that the jackpot has surged past the $400 million mark, let alone exceeding a half billion. Its top prize came in March of 2012: $651 million, but we are still far away from the largest American lottery jackpot ever, a $1.6 billion Powerball mother lode in January of 2016.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Rap star Pusha T has been married at the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, attended the ceremony. The Virginian-Pilot reports the rap star who grew up in Virginia Beach married his longtime girlfriend, Virginia Williams. White and black Ferraris were parked outside the hotel, and white balloons surrounded the front entrance. Social media posts hinted at the wedding ahead of the weekend. One video showed Pusha T, whose real name is Terrance LeVarr Thornton, giving a toast. Kardashian West posted videos to her Instagram story of herself and West getting ready in a hotel room.
As the Virginia lottery approaches its 30th birthday in September, officials say better technology is one of the major ways it has changed. This comes as the lottery celebrates its best year ever for sales, profits, and prize payouts. WFIR intern reporter Brandon Wells has more:
Update: Virginia State Police Senior Trooper S.M. Krantz is investigating a fatal crash in Bedford County. The crash occurred at 4:20 p.m. Monday (July 16) on Goode Road at the intersection of Goode Station Road.
A 1997 Jeep Wrangler was traveling north on Goode Road when it swerved to the left to avoid striking a deer in the roadway. The Jeep crossed the center line and ran off the left side of the highway. The vehicle then struck a ditch and overturned. It came to rest on its wheels.
Previously: At 4:30 p.m., Monday (July 16), Virginia State Police responded to a traffic crash in Bedford County. The crash occurred on Goode Station Road when a vehicle ran off the road and overturned. There is one confirmed fatality. The crash remains under investigation.
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A teen landscaper pulling weeds ran into one that should have come with a “Don’t touch me!” warning. His literal brush with what was believed to be the “giant hogweed” plant earlier this week left him with serious burns on his face.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports 17-year-old Alex Childress came in contact with the towering plant on Tuesday. He ended up with second- and third-degree burns to his face and left arm. Giant hogweed exudes a sap that can cause burns, blisters and blindness.
Jordan Metzgar is a curator with Virginia Tech’s Massey Herbarium. He said Friday that reported sightings of the giant hogweed plant have increased since its presence in the state was confirmed last month. But he says most reports have been unfounded.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A California man has pleaded guilty to shooting a U.S. diplomat in Mexico. Zia Zafar entered guilty pleas in a Virginia federal court Friday to attempted murder of an internationally protected person and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. Continue reading
The Bristol Herald Courier reported Friday that the video was shared on Snapchat and other social media platforms, drawing ire from across the region. Bristol Virginia Police Department Sgt. Steve Crawford says authorities originally sought to charge the 17-year-old girl with animal cruelty.
Crawford says a juvenile intake worker declined to charge her and instead placed the girl on probation. Crawford says the girl could be charged if she doesn’t comply with the probation requirements. He says charges are pending against the 17-year-old boy, who may also be charged in an unrelated case.
The kitten, named Peppy, has since been adopted and doesn’t appear to suffer any eye damage.
Stephen Dalton Baril is the grandson of John Dalton, a Republican who served as governor from 1978 to 1982. Baril’s father is Steve Baril, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully in 2005 for attorney general.
News outlets report that a jury trial for Baril on charges of rape and sodomy had been scheduled for July 24. But court staff say the trial has been canceled in favor of a plea and sentencing hearing.
A female student at the university told police that Baril walked her home from a bar in January 2017 and took her to his apartment, where she says she was raped.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — For almost half a century, Virginia has used “Virginia is for Lovers” as a slogan to promote tourism in the state. So when state tourism officials noticed an online retailer using “Virginia is for Gun Lovers,” they weren’t pleased. The Virginia Tourism Corp. is now suing the Richmond-based retailer, Recovered Gold LLC. The tourism group filed a lawsuit in federal court in May, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition. The suit says Recovered Gold’s use of the phrase will confuse consumers into thinking the products sold by the business are affiliated with the state. Attempts to reach Recovered Gold owner Andrew Newell were unsuccessful Thursday. Newell’s lawyer declined to comment on the lawsuit. Lawyers for the tourism agency did not return calls seeking comment.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, say the city is preparing for a worst-case scenario for the August 12 anniversary of a deadly white supremacist rally. The city is fighting in federal court to deny organizer Jason Kessler a permit for another “Unite the Right” rally. Police Chief RaShall Brackney said Charlottesville needs to be prepared whether or not Kessler succeeds. The Daily Progress reports that community members and state and local officials gathered Thursday to discuss preparations. Assistant City Manager Mike Murphy notes that the city’s new event and park regulations prohibit items that can be weaponized. Virginia State Police Capt. Craig Worsham said state, local and regional authorities will be operating under a single unified plan that weekend.