Crime and Public Safety
BOTETOURT, Va. – Virginia State Police Trooper L.R. Spencer is investigating a single vehicle crash which resulted in a fatality. The crash occurred Monday (Apr 26) at 3:42 p.m. on Interstate 81 southbound, at the 159.5-mile marker in Botetourt County. A 2021 Freightliner tractor trailer was traveling south on Interstate 81 at the 159.5-mile marker, when the vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway and struck the ditch and several trees. The tractor trailer overturned in the median.
The driver of the Freightliner was identified as Thomas Schmidt, 38, of Mansfield, LA. Mr. Schmidt was wearing his seatbelt and died at the scene. The crash remains under investigation.
On April 25 (Sunday) at approximately 11:30 p.m., Roanoke Police were dispatched to reports of a disorder in the area between Dale Avenue SE and Jamison Avenue SE. Unknown to officers at the time, there was an adult male lying partially in the roadway in the 700 block of 11th Street SE. One of the responding officers arrived on scene and attempted to park his patrol vehicle. As he was pulling to the side of the road to park, he struck the male who was lying in the roadway. Roanoke Fire-EMS transported the man to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment of what appeared to be serious injuries.
In accordance with department policy, the Virginia State Police were notified and will be investigating this incident. The officer involved has been placed on administrative assignment, per Roanoke Police Department policy. Sgt. Rick Garletts with the Virginia State Police will be the media’s point of contact for further inquiries on the investigation.
Often the initial “optics” look bad when body-cam or citizen video footage shows deadly forced employed by the police – as in the case of the 16-year-old girl shot dead by police in Columbus last week. But a former officer says there is often more to it, as WFIR’s Gene Marrano reports:
Brandy Faulkner is the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies at Virginia Tech and an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. The day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all 3 charges in the death of George Floyd, she spoke with WFIR’s Gene Marrano – and here is a “Longer Listen.”
HR 71-20 is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Congress will take up that bill soon in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin trial that ended in the former police officer’s conviction on 3 counts. Democratic US Senator Tim Kaine thinks its a step in the right direction. The story from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:
US ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE: ABINGDON, Va. – A Marion man pleaded guilty today to using force or the threat of force to interfere with federally protected housing rights based on the race or color of the victims.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee, James Brown, 41, burned a cross on the front yard of an African-American family in the early morning hours of June 14, 2020. One of the family members had organized a civil rights protest the day before in Marion. Brown admitted to burning the cross to two witnesses and also was known to use racial epithets when referring to the African-American family.
“Acts of hatred, intimidation and the threat of force, carried out by the racially motivated cross burning in this case, illegally interfered with their federally protected housing rights,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar said today. “This illegal, divisive behavior destroys communities and will not be tolerated. I’m proud of the work of the FBI and our state partners, who brought James Brown to justice.”
“There is absolutely no room for racial intimidation or injustice occurring in our communities,” Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division said today. “FBI Richmond is steadfast in our commitment of protecting residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of race or ethnicity; and will continue to work with our investigative and prosecutorial partners to hold accountable the offenders who attempt to fracture our communities.”
Brown pleaded guilty today to one count of criminal interference with federally protected housing rights based upon the victim’s race.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marion Police Department, and the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the case.
Assistant United States Attorneys Zachary T. Lee and Daniel Murphy are prosecuting the case.
State Police say four Alexandria residents are charged with leading troopers on a high-speed chase that started on Interstate 81 in a vehicle stolen in Lynchburg — and inside the car was a firearm stolen in Winchester.. Troopers say the chase started Monday evening when the car was clocked doing 99 miles per hour on Interstate 81 in Pulaski County, and speeds during the pursuit sometimes topped 120 miles per hour. It ended two counties later at a dead-end lane in Grayson County. Police say the four suspects all took off on foot but were later taken into custody.
NEWS RELEASE: At 7:58 a.m. on Monday (April 19), Virginia State Police Sergeant D.D. Johnson was running radar on Interstate 81 in Pulaski County when an Acura sedan registered 99 mph in a posted 70 mph zone. The sergeant pulled in behind the Acura and activated his lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the vehicle, but the Acura refused to stop. A pursuit was initiated with the Acura reaching speeds of up to 120 mph.
The pursuit continued into Wythe County where the Acura exited the interstate and entered the Town of Wytheville. The Acura then headed south on Route 21 towards Grayson County.
The suspect vehicle continued to elude law enforcement and came to a stop at the end of Winterplace Lane in Grayson County. The four occupants then fled on foot. A search perimeter was immediately established with the assistance of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Independence Police Department, Smyth County Sheriff’s Office, Galax Police Department, the Alleghany County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshall Service.
A search of the Acura yielded the recovery of a firearm that had been reported stolen in Winchester, Va. The Acura had been reported stolen in Lynchburg, Va.
Over the course of several hours, all four individuals were located and taken into custody:
- Malikai Robert-Elija Crawford, 21, of Alexandria, Va., was charged with possession of stolen property (Vehicle), possession of a stolen firearm, possession of firearm by convicted felon, possession of concealed weapon, reckless driving and one felony count of eluding police.
- Reyanna Malikia Foreman, 19, of Alexandria, Va. She was charged with possession of a stolen firearm.
- Two juvenile males, both from Alexandria, Va., were charged with numerous offenses, including possession of stolen property (vehicle) and possession of a concealed weapon.
Crawford and Foreman are being held at the New River Valley Regional Jail.
The incident remains on going at this time
The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office says a sting operation led to an arrest for allegedly stealing a pontoon boat, then trying to sell its motor. Officials say the boat was stolen in December in the Thaxton area, and investigators later learned Eric Nichols tried to sell the craft’s motor. They posed as buyers, and after the sting transaction was completed, they found the boat and arrested Nichols for grand larceny. He is currently jailed without bond.
NEWS RELEASE: On December 13, 2020, Bedford County Sheriff Office received a report for a stolen Apex Pontoon Boat from the Thaxton Area. Investigators became aware of a suspect by the name of Eric Nichols through tips from the community.
On April 13, 2021, Investigators became aware that Nichols was attempting to sell the motor from the stolen pontoon boat.
On April 14, 2021, Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office purchased the motor from Nichols (a sting operation), which resulted in his arrest for possession of stolen property. A search of Nichols property was conducted, and Investigators located the stolen Apex Pontoon Boat. Which resulted in warrant for Grand Larceny being obtained for Nichols, and he is currently being held with no bond at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority in Bedford, VA.
NEWS RELEASE: On April 17, 2021, at approximately 8:42 pm, the Martinsville-Henry County Emergency 911 Center received a call that an individual had been shot at 1163 Jarrett Dr., Bassett, VA. Deputies arrived on the scene and encountered the suspect outside of the residence. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.
Deputies entered the residence and located the victim lying on the floor. The victim had suffered at least one gunshot wound to the chest. The Henry County Department of Public Safety also responded to the residence, and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim has been identified as Kaleb Tremaine Greene, 24, of Maple St., Martinsville, VA. The victim was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia, where an autopsy will be performed.
Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that Kaleb Greene was visiting the home located at 1163 Jarrett Dr. Greene was involved in an argument inside of the house when the suspect, Isaiah Jeremiah Dillard, 21, of 1136 Jarrett Dr., Bassett, VA produced a firearm and shot Greene. Greene and Dillard were acquainted with each other.
Isaiah Jeremiah Dillard was charged with first degree murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He is currently held in the Henry County Jail without bond.
Anyone having information regarding this homicide is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). The Crimestoppers Program offers rewards of up to $2500.00 for information related to crime. The nature of the crime and the substance of the information determine the amount of reward paid.