Fluvanna Review

Driving drunk shattered lives

On the warm autumn day of Oct. 3, 2014, Joshua Heinze was still just an average guy. The 40-year-old Richmond resident was married with two children, had a good job in IT with the Federal Reserve, and an active social life. He had never been in trouble with the law – never even had a traffic ticket.
But after that day he would never be “just an average guy” again.
The morning started with Heinze floating the James River to Scottsville with a friend from work, drinking beer along the way. They then stopped at a brewery to drink more beer before heading home. As he left the brewery and walked to his car, Joshua Heinze made a decision. He decided to drive drunk.
He got lost at one point and had to consult his phone for directions, nearly running off the road in the process. He drove through the rainy dusk into almost complete darkness without ever turning on his headlights. And when he neared Palmyra on Rt. 15, he drove his car across the center line and into oncoming traffic, causing a terrible accident which changed his life and the lives of his victim and both of their families forever.
Lisa Black of Palmyra was on her way to Camp Friendship that drizzly evening to pick up her 12-year-old old daughter from cheerleading practice. She was hungry, and was thinking of picking up Chinese food for dinner. The next thing she remembers was waking up in her wrecked car in excruciating pain, wondering if she was going to die.
Heinze was arrested one week later and charged with DUI, First Offense, with Failure to Drive on the Right Side of the Highway, and with Maiming in the Commission of a DUI. The first two charges were dropped, and Heinze pled guilty to Maiming in the Commission of a DUI on May 22, 2015.
On Aug. 28, 2015, Heinze and his victim and their spouses appeared in court to speak about the impact the accident has had on their lives, and to hear the sentence the judge would hand down. State sentencing guidelines for a first DUI with injuries recommended a sentence of from one to 30 days in jail. Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip believed that sentence was inadequate, and requested a five-year jail sentence. Judge Richard Moore had a tough decision to make.
“This is a difficult case,” said Moore. “This is one of the most tragic cases I have heard of because of the potential consequences to both families,” he explained as he called recess to consider the sentence.
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Photo courtesy of Jeff PotterA devastating house fire that blazed Saturday night (Aug. 29) at 10850 James Madison Highway in Palmyra has left a Fluvanna family homeless.
Shanna Johnson, who lived with her family in the house that burned, had been battling a headache all week, she said, and when she got home from work Saturday evening she went straight to sleep.
“Hindsight is 20-20,” Johnson said. “While I was sleeping I heard a popping noise. I didn’t really pay attention to it – you know how you hear things in your sleep – and we always hear gunshots in the woods. Then there were two other noises like gunshots. For some reason something woke me up and I looked at the window. It was glowing orange.”
Johnson got out of bed and touched the window, which was hot. “I realized it was a fire,” she said. “I woke up my husband James, and he jumped up and ran to the kitchen. At that point the fire was coming through the kitchen. So we got the kids and the fire just came in. I picked my daughter up and I was dialing 911.” Johnson placed her call at 10:31 p.m.
Johnson’s mother and 16-year-old daughter were away, she said, but she and her husband were able to get their 14-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter safely outside. The fire was blazing in the back of the house, so they moved their cars around front and then stood and waited for the fire department to come.
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Roger Black.  Photo Courtesy of Roger BlackRoger Black, 57, announced to the Fluvanna Review that he is seeking election to become Fluvanna County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court.
“I was approached by people in the community who were aware of my public service record and felt I was a good fit for the office,” said Black, “that I would be someone who would maintain the enviable reputation that the current staff has enjoyed for so many years.”
Black has worked for Fluvanna as an erosion and sediment control site inspector for 10 years. Before that, he was a Virginia Department of Forestry technician in Fluvanna and other counties for 12 years. His contributions to Fluvanna include serving on the planning commission for two years and spending eight years as elected Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District Director.
A graduate of Fluvanna County High School, Black has some credits from Piedmont Virginia Community College and “a lot of specialized training over the years in several different disciplines,” he said, including training in law enforcement and investigation through the Virginia Department of Forestry.
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Art by Lorraine LaVistaA few months ago, artist Lorraine LaVista, spoke to the Fluvanna Art Association regarding using Sharpie markers as an alternative art medium. Many embraced the new medium. Currently, LaVista, a member of FAA, is exhibiting her work at the Fork Union Community Center.

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he displays light up to the music of  ten different Christmas favorites like Little Drummer Boy, Carole of the Bells and the theme to A Charlie Brown Christmas.About half the population of Fluvanna County lives behind the gates of Monticello. If you aren’t one of them, now is the time to phone a friend to let you in.
Inside those gates at 4 Lewis Court you’ll find perhaps the best Christmas light show in the whole county.

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