Monthly Archive for August, 2003

Tent Collapses in Storm at Fair

Dozens of people were trapped on Thursday evening when heavy rain and strong winds collapsed a tent at the Albemarle County Fair. At least three people were injured in the mess, including one that had been hit by lightning. It was caused by a sudden, heavy thunderstorm that hit the North Garden fairgrounds, flooding the tent before it collapsed on the families seeking shelter there. The fair will be closed today, and it’s not clear what will happen come the weekend. Reed Williams has the story in today’s Progress.

Pedicab Service Available Downtown

A trio of area businessmen have launched a novel new business — bicycle-based taxi services downtown. They’re going to run the “pedicabs,” as they call them, in Barracks Road, at UVa, and along West Main down to the Mall. Their plan is to recruit off-duty cops and UVa students to lease the pedicabs, who would operate them and keep the profits. It’s $3.50 for a ride from the Downtown Mall to UVa. The bright-orange vehicles will be kept on West Main Street, at the U-Haul center, and will be available on-call. Liz Nelson has the story in today’s Progress.

Charlottesville is Growing Up

Amid all of the debate over growth in Albemarle and the surrounding counties, Charlottesville’s growth rate and capacity are often ignored. With 3,900 people per square mile, Charlottesville is one of the least-sprawled areas in the state. With the city’s boundaries having been locked at 10 square miles, municipal growth can only go one way — up. In Saturday’s Progress, Liz Nelson took an extensive look at where we are, where we’re going, and what needs to happen (tax rates, transportation, cost of living, etc.) in order to get there.

Police Shooting of Frenchman Looking Sketchy

The Daily Progress has included extensive daily updates on the cases of the Frenchman shot by Albemarle County police officer J.M. Fields last Sunday, each driving home the main problem with Officer Fields’ claim, which centers around his user of a Taser. Officer Fields says that he Tasered Raimond Riviere, who then recovered and took the Taser from Fields. Fields then shot Raimond in self-defense. Raimond’s attorney, defense-lawyer-about-town Deborah Wyatt, contends that her client never touched the Taser. A brochure for the Advanced Taser M26 (PDF) says that the suspect injury rate after being Tasered was just 1.6%, and that “no deaths have ever been directly attributed to the Taser.” In apparent conflict with this, the Albemarle County Police Department only allows the use of deadly force in defense of anybody in immediate danger of serious physical harm or death. The Virginia State Police are investigating, and they will turn over their findings not to Albemarle commonwealth’s attorney Jim Camblos, but to Goochland’s commonwealth’s attorney. Raimond remains in the hospital, having been shot twice in the chest, once in the liver, and once in the hand. Claudia Pinto has the story in today’s Progress.

County Officer Shoots Suspect

After shooting a 30-year-old man in the chest three times, Albemarle County police officer J.M. Fields has been placed on administrative leave, and is now the subject of a state police investigation. At 2:15am, Officer Fields stopped the suspect (Ray — or possibly Roy — Riviere) on Rt. 20 north, suspecting that he was driving under the influence, but the suspect escaped. Fields caught the man and tasered him, but the suspect took the taser and knocked down Fields. It was at that point that the officer shot the suspect in the chest three times with his 9mm. Amazingly, the suspect escaped on foot at that point, but was later apprehended by two other officers. Interestingly, the man seems to be a French citizen. Riviere is now in the ICU at the UVa Medical Center. A joint Albemarle-state news conference is planned for Monday. Liz Nelson has the story in today’s Progress.



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