Blackhawks help fight forest fires

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

Two West Virginia National Guard Blackhawk helicopters have been sent to Hardy County to help fight a 4000-acre wildfire near Wardensville, West Virginia and the Virginia State Line.

Governor Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for several counties, leading to the deployment of helicopters.

Each helicopter can carry 630 gallons of water over the dangerous terrain.

The aircraft and personnel arrived from Wheeling and Parkersburg and are experienced in battling wildfires.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Local college’s compete in national basketball tournaments

The Commonwealth’s college basketball programs are getting ready to showcase their skills on a national stage and one local team already took home some hardware.

Christendom College’s women’s basketball team won the USCAA Division II National Championship last week.

The Crusaders set a school record for wins and won their Conference Championship before upsetting the 1, 2, and 3 seeds in the National Tournament.

James Madison and Longwood won their conference tournaments to earn a spot in the Men’s NCAA Division I Tournament.

Both teams will compete in Brooklyn for the South Region with the Dukes as a 12 seed taking on Wisconsin and the 16 seeded Lancers will take on Houston.

UVA will play in the First Four against Colorado State Tuesday night.

For the women’s bracket Virginia Tech earned a 4 seed and will take on Marshall and West Virginia drew the 8 seed matched up with Princeton.

The entire men’s NCAA basketball tournament will air on Fox Sports Radio 1450 with the Final Four and National Championship on The River 95.3.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Flood warning in effect in West Virginia

lightning

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Opequon Creek near Martinsburg, affecting Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia, and the Cacapon River in Morgan County, W.Va.

Minor flooding is forecast on both waterways, according to the weather statement.

Motorists are reminded not to drive through areas where water is running across the road. Turn around, don’t drown.

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department investigating jewelry theft

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

The Berkeley County, W.Va., Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of jewelry valued at about $85,000 from a residence on Duckwoods Lane in Martinsburg.

The victim reported Thursday that the jewelry has been stolen while she and her daughter were out during the day. Her daughter’s fiance was watching the house, according to a report from the department.

Deputies said the fiance identified himself as Cooper Ross. When they grew suspicious of him and got a fingerprint scanner, he told them he lied about his identity and his real name was Igor Rosensteel. He told the deputies that he had left the residence for about 45 minutes. Deputies later determined the 33-year-old Baltimore man had sold the jewelry at a local pawn shop. They recovered the money and said in the report that they hoped to recover the jewelry Friday.

Deputies also determined that Rosensteel is on federal probation stemming from a 2018 conviction  of impersonating a Secret Service agent in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme.

The investigation is ongoing.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Multiple arrests in W.Va. drug-enforcement effort

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

The Berkeley County, W.Va., Sheriff’s Department reported more than two dozen arrests in the wake of a multi-agency drug-enforcement effort Thursday and Friday in the county.

The combined effort conducted by members of the department’s SWAT team, the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, West Virginia State Police, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department and Martinsburg City Police Department effort focused on criminal interdiction and enforcement of drug dealers, which also included other various offenders.

The department reported: Information was obtained which lead to a successful search warrant/arrest/drug seizure which also lead to the location of illegal weapons. The BCSD SWAT Team was utilized for this high risk search warrant. The Berkeley County Transportation Division, led by Chief Court Marshal Mike Laing, assisted greatly in the processing and transportation of persons arrested throughout this operation.

Stats:
Traffic Stops – 75
Vehicle Searches – 9
Felony Arrests – 5 persons/8 Charges
Misdemeanor – 16 persons/26 Charges
Drug Related Arrests – 4
Fugitive Arrests – 2
Guns – 2
Marijuana – 32 grams
Crack Cocaine – 11 grams
Suboxone – 1 strip
Total Drug Value: $1440.00
Cash Seized: $1480.00
Search Warrant – 1

“This multi-agency combined effort is an example of how cooperative efforts can have a major impact on the drug trafficking industry in the Eastern Panhandle of WV and the surrounding areas. We would like to thank each officer who participated and we look forward to working with these agencies in the future,” Berkeley County Sheriff Rob Blair said.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

West Virginia reports rabies in white tail deer

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

A Hampshire County West Virginia Department of Health report confirms a free roaming white tail deer tested positive for rabies.

One deer with rabies indicates that more animals are likely to be infected with the disease.

Hunting season has begun in West Virginia and archery season in progress in Virginia.

Hunters need to be aware that all mammals are susceptible to rabies.

Hunters need to take precautions like wearing gloves when field dressing or butchering an animal and then dispose of the gloves properly.

Hand washing when done dressing the animal is something that helps limit the spread.

Never consume animals that appear abnormal and report the animal to your local health department.

Rabies can be transmitted through an animal’s saliva and blood especially into an open wound.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Domestic Violence call leads to firearm arrest

Rodney Allen Mayhew, age 43, of Martinsburg, pled guilty this week to one count unlawful possession of a firearm.

According to the plea agreement reached in federal court, officers were called to Mayhew’s home to serve a protective order involving domestic violence. When officers arrived, Mayhew admitted to having firearms in the bedroom. Officers recovered two pistols and a rifle.

The Mayhew case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.

Mayhew is facing up to 15 years in prison.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Georgia man found guilty in Falling Waters murder

Harlold Dexter Rue, 67, of Snellville, Georgia was found Guilty after a two day trial for First Degree Murder according to a press release from Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Catie Wilkes Delligatti. 

Rue has been convicted of the  Use of a Firearm During a Felony for the shooting that occurred on December 7, 2021 in Falling Waters, West Virginia.

The original altercation stemmed from a road rage incident that led to the trucker shooting and killing another truck driver, Reynaldo Gonzalez Mediavilla, 29, from Hialeah, Florida with a sawed off shotgun.

The jury recommended that Rue should not be eligible for parole citing past convictions including  second degree murder in California and Kidnapping to Commit Robbery.

He is also the primary suspect for an armed robbery in Chesterfield, Virginia two days before the Falling Waters shooting.

His sentencing will take place on June 5, 2023.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Federal Court Ruling Finding Transgender Sports Law Constitutional

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in June told a crowd gathered at the State Capitol that a lawsuit

brought against a state law defining “sex” in school sports would not succeed. On Thursday, those words came to fruition: a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West

Virginia ruled the state legislature’s definition of “girl” and “woman” in the context of HB 3293 (Save Women’s

Sports Bill) is “constitutionally permissible.” “This is not only about simple biology, but fairness for women’s sports, plain and simple,” Attorney General Morrisey

said. “Opportunities for girls and women on the field are precious and we must safeguard that future. Protecting these

opportunities is important, because when biological males compete in a women’s event women and girls lose their

opportunity to shine. Under HB 3293, all biological males, including those who identify as transgender girls, are ineligible for participation

on girls’ sports teams. The challenge to that law came from a transgender student at Bridgeport Middle School identified in court papers as

“BPJ.” Attorneys for BPJ argued that HB 3293 violates BPJ’s rights under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of

the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Attorney General Morrisey, on behalf of the state, intervened and asserted the law protects female athletes’ safety and

keeps female sports competitive for female athletes, consistent with Title IX and the Constitution. Title IX was signed

into law on June 23, 1972. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that

receives funding from the federal government.  “This short and simple law demands that girls and women get their fair share of opportunities in education, and Title

IX’s regulations make it clear that this could be accomplished in school athletic programs by having ‘separate teams

for members of each sex’ where the teams are based on competitive skill,” Attorney General Morrisey said. Read a copy of Thursday’s ruling at: https://bit.ly/3GEyNxp.

 

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

W.Va. high speed chase runs through 2 counties

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office released more information on a high speed chase that ran through two counties in West Virginia.

The report comes from Metro News out of West Virginia.

The driver of a black Infiniti refused to stop when Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputies attempted to pull him over for defective equipment and speeding on Oct. 12.

The driver identified as Austin Michael Roher of Leetown reached speeds of over 111 miles per hour as he proceeded down Route 9 west.

Roher took the Kearneysville Leetown exit through a stop sign before turning south onto Leetown Road with authorities in pursuit.

Roher managed to avoid spike strips turned off his lights and turned onto Sulphur Springs Road using the oncoming lane.

Berkeley County Deputies joined the pursuit when Roher ran through a red light into Berkeley County.

Roher drove onto Winchester Road Route 11 stopping at a dead end on Lobo Lane.

Officers gave verbal commands for Roher to exit the vehicle to no avail.

When Authorities reached the vehicle they found Roher with a self-inflected gunshot wound.

Roher was transported by Emergency Medical Services to Berkeley County Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.

The investigation into the incident continues.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.