News Journal

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 • USPS 387-780 • • 75 cents Christiansburg PD follow-up investigation of delegate Hurst stop finds no violation of department policies, no improper actions by officer The Christiansburg Police Depart- ment Friday released the results of the internal investigation into the January traffic stop involving Delegate Chris Hurst. On Jan. 26, Lt. Stephen Swecker stopped a vehicle driven by Hurst on the U.S. 460 Bypass, between the downtown Christiansburg and Pep- pers Ferry Road exits. The officer had observed the vehicle, which was trav- eling west toward Blacksburg, swerve across the right side fog-line several times. The vehicle also traveled over the posted speed limit for a brief pe- riod. When the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed that Hurst’s eyes were red and he smelled the odor of alcohol coming from within the vehi- cle. The office obtained Hurst’s driver’s license and conducted a routine check of the license status. He then explained his observations to Hurst and asked him to follow a pen with his eyes. After noticing a lack of smooth pursuit, he then asked Hurst to step out of the ve- hicle and perform field sobriety tests. After the initial eye test, which is formally known as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the officer ad- ministered four field sobriety tests, as well as a preliminary field breath test, which is a portable breath test used in the field to assist the officer in deter- mining if a person is impaired. The results of a preliminary breath test conducted in the field are used as an investigative tool, but are not admis- sible as evidence in court. Hurst com- plied with the officer’s request and per- formed all the tests. Hurst struggled with the walk and turn field test but passed the other three field tests. Hurst’s preliminary breath test registered a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .085. Based on Hurst’s overall performance dur- ing the field sobriety tests, the officer released Hurst without charging him. The Christiansburg Police Depart- ment followed up on the incident by conducting an internal investigation, which involved reviewing department policies and the policies of the sur- rounding law enforcement agencies, interviewing the officer, reviewing the officer’s past performance in DUI interactions, and consulting the com- monwealth’s attorney. As a result of this internal investiga- tion, it was determined that no depart- ment policies were violated, and there is no evidence of improper or inconsis- tent actions or favoritism exhibited by the officer. The investigation conclud- ed that the officer treated the driver in this instance just as anyone else would have been treated faced with similar circumstances. Since Jan. 1, 2019, Lt. Swecker has made 16 DUI arrests and conducted an additional eight investigations that did not result in arrests. In the case involving Hurst, Lt. Swecker adminis- tered the initial Horizontal Gaze Nys- tagmus test and then four field tests. Of those four field tests, Hurst failed one. PHOTOS BY HEATHER BELL Radford Fire/EMS demonstrates life-saving device Members of the Rad- ford Fire/EMS depart- ment demonstrate a Lu- cas Device at Monday’s Radford City Council meeting. The depart- ment currently has one of these devices, which performs automated chest compressions on patients. The city coun- cil allowed the allocation of $15,000 to purchase a second Lucas Device and a stair chair, which helps move patients down staircases in emergen- cy medical situations. The funds come from Four-For-Life funds and are restricted for EMS equipment. Radford University students, along with RU President Brian O. Hemphill and members of the Board of Visitors, pose with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Radford University students meet with governor and lawmakers and share their unique stories A diverse and energetic group of students proudly represented Radford University during Advocacy Day, a two-day trip that took them on tours of historic Richmond landmarks and brought them face-to-face with legisla- tors. Forty-eight Radford University and Radford University Carilion (RUC) students, along with several administra- tors, departed campus recently. Cheers erupted as the bus wound its way onto the interstate for a three-and-a-half- hour drive to the Commonwealth’s capital. For an estimated 20 years, Radford University has sent students to Advo- cacyDay as an experiential opportunity to see government in action, inspire representatives with shared stories of resiliency, grit and success and encour- age their ongoing support of Radford See Students , page 3 See Delegate Hurst , page 3 Glencoe Mansion to host art show by Cheryl Mackian RADFORD - Glencoe Mansion, Museum & Gal- lery is hosting an opening reception of the gallery show, “Travel is Good for the Soul,” featuring the works of artist Cheryl Mackian. The Gallery will hold the reception on Tuesday, March 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mackian, a Floyd- based artist, was born in Staunton, Virginia and moved frequently when she was in her twenties, liv- ing in Washington, D.C.; Providence, Rhode Island; and Seattle, Washington. As a late blooming art- ist, she began to take her creative streak seriously in her thirties, by taking a series of art classes. When she experimented with oil paint for the first time, Mackian says she knew she had finally found her medium and voice. Her paintings are loose- ly representational. Use of light, vibrant color, and unique angles of perspec- tive are her trademarks. She begins with a rough outline and works intui- tively across the surface, at times painting alla prima and in other places build- ing layer by layer using brushes, scraping, palette knives, fingers, and other improvised tools to convey her vision. After a 2011 trip to New York City, Mackian’s work turned suddenly to her inspiration in the energy, immensity, and diversity of city life. Her work fea- tures people, architecture, and the motion of the cit- ies themselves. Her figures tend to be utterly focused in their everyday activi- ties; lost in thought, con- versation, viewing art, or shopping for dinner. These quiet pieces are juxtaposed against a series of paint- ings that celebrate motion, color, and the beat of the city itself. Everyone is welcome to attend the reception. There is no admission charge. “Travel is Good for the Soul” will be on display through May 7. - Scott Gardner Radford University announces Dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Following a national search, Radford Univer- sity has announced the selection of Matthew J. Smith, Ph.D., to lead the College of Humani- ties and Behavioral Sci- ences in the role of dean. Smith has served as interim dean since 2018, and was previously di- rector and professor in the School of Commu- nication for two years. “I am honored to serve as the Dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Scienc- es,” said Smith. “This college is fortunate to have talented faculty, dedicated staff, promis- ing students, and fervent alumni, and I look for- ward to the partnerships that we will deepen and those that we will devel- op as the college pursues its mission to educate and serve the people of the commonwealth and beyond.” “Radford is an insti- tution brimming with opportunities, and I am eager for us to ex- plore how to pursue and promote those op- portunities even more enthusiastically,” Smith continued. Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. said Smith has al- Matthew J. Smith, Ph.D See New Dean , page 2 That Saturday On The Boardwalk Her Avid Listener