Police: 1 dead in James City County after tree, power lines fall on vehicle

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

One man has died and another man is still trapped inside a work truck after a powerful wind gust toppled a tree and power lines onto a vehicle on Newman Road, according to James City County Police.

The incident took place around 12:50 p.m. Friday when a 2006 Ford work truck with a trailer on it was heading south in the 7700 block of Newman Road between Riverview Road and North Cove Road when strong winds blew over an oak tree while the vehicle was in motion, James City County deputy police chief Stephen Rubino said.

The falling tree pulled down power lines onto the work truck, Rubino said.

Rubino said fire crews from James City and York counties are still working to extract a man from the work truck, and the Virginia Department of Transportation and Dominion Virginia Power are also on the scene.

The road is completely shut down, and VDOT advises drivers to take an alternate route.

James City County battalion chief Al Catlett said earlier today that there were several reports of downed trees, as well as a downed cable line on Merrimac Trail.

Dominion Virginia Power’s outage map shows nearly 6,000 customers in the Williamsburg region as of 2:50 p.m. — 4,023 without power in James City County, 1,526 in York County and 391 in Williamsburg. Statewide, there are 343,599 customers without power.

Dominion spokeswoman Janell Hancock said all of its crews are out repairing and assessing downed power lines and working to restore power, and did not yet have an estimate of when power would return to affected areas. She cautioned that people should not drive over, go near or touch downed power lines.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for the Williamsburg region until 6 a.m. Saturday. Winds Friday were from the northwest ranging from 25 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph.


More than 3,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers in James City County, and nearly 4,000 customers across the Williamsburg area are without power as of 12:30 p.m. Friday.

The online outage map shows that 2,698 of those customers are in the Jamestown area, with other smaller pockets of customers without power throughout James City County.

James City County emergency manager Sara Ruch said she has been on conference calls with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.

A high wind advisory for the Williamsburg area has expired, but the area is now under a high wind warning until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Al Catlett, James City County battalion chief, said the fire department has responded to a few downed trees in the roadway, including one on Rochambeau Drive and a downed cable line on Merrimac Trail, but he said nothing has impacted structures.

Dominion Virginia Power’s online outage map shows 3,368 customers without power in James City County, 204 without power in York County and another 388 without power in Williamsburg. Dominion says more than 400,000 customers are without power throughout the state.

The high winds have affected other things in the Williamsburg region.

The Virginia Department of Transportation suspended Jamestown-Scotland ferry service Friday morning due to high winds.

“VDOT will continue to monitor conditions at the piers to determine when service can be restored,” said VDOT spokeswoman Nina Napolitano in a statement. “The safety of our passengers and crewmembers is the most important factor in making these decisions.”

VDOT issued a high wind advisory for the Coleman Bridge crossing from York to Gloucester counties.

Bruton High School lost power Friday morning as students were arriving at the school and closed, according to the York County School Division.

Williamsburg Parks and Recreation closed Waller Mill Park Friday due to the high winds, and postponed a tennis program scheduled at Kiwanis Park.

Williamsburg also closed Waller Mill Park due to high winds and safety concerns, and postponed advanced tennis at Kiwanis Park Friday.


Bruton High School closed Friday for power outage

Bruton High School does not have power Friday morning and students have been sent home, according to the York County School Division.

The school division sent an alert to parents and on social media noting that Bruton and a portion of Williamsburg are without power.

“Dominion Virginia Power has advised us that crews are working on the situation, but we do not have an estimate of when power will be restored,” the York County School Division said.

High school students have been sent home, and the school division said to expect bus delays at the middle and elementary school levels in the Bruton school zone. York County Public Schools is scheduled for early dismisssal Friday.

Jamestown-Scotland Ferry operations

The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry that runs from Jamestown across the James River to Surry County had no delays earlier Friday morning and was running on its usual schedule before conditions changed, according to VDOT ferry facility manager Wes Ripley.

Still, VDOT spokeswoman Nina Napolitano said the agency is monitoring the conditions at the piers in case it needs to suspend or alter service due to the weather. VDOT has posted messages on its sign boards noting that ferry passengers should expect possible service disruptions due to the high winds being forecast.

“As always, VDOT will make the call whether or not to suspend service based on changing conditions and will be especially cautious during high tides,” Napolitano said.

The Coleman Bridge also has a high wind advisory in effect, according to VDOT.

Power outage update

Dominion said high winds are causing power outages throughout the Peninsula.

12 p.m. update

322 customers in James City County, 235 in York County and 382 in Williamsburg are without power.

9:30 a.m. update

965 customers in James City County, 570 in York County and four in Williamsburg do not have power, according to Dominion Virginia Power’s outage map.

8:15 a.m. update

More than 1,000 customers in York County, 61 customers in James City County and four in Williamsburg are without power, according to Dominion Virgnia Power’s outage map.

7:30 a.m. update

904 customers in York County, 28 in James City County and four in Williamsburg are without power, according to Dominion Virginia Power’s outage map.

The forecast

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the the Williamsburg region Friday. The forecast calls for mostly sunny conditions with a high near 54, with winds from the northwest at 20 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 46 mph.

The National Weather Service advises that a wind advisory can making driving difficult and cause downed tree limbs and small trees, with scattered power outages possible.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette