Chapel Hill Woman Charged with Felony Hit and Run

Chapel Hill Police have arrested a woman in connection with a hit and run involving a pedestrian.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says police responded to a report of a pedestrian being struck on Fountain Ridge Road at Highview Drive at 8:25 last Tuesday night.

Maureen Patricia Rogers. Photo via Chapel Hill Police.

Maureen Patricia Rogers. Photo via Chapel Hill Police.

The pedestrian was suffering from non-life threatening injuries, according to police, and – after initially refusing – was eventually transported to the hospital for treatment of lacerations.

“There was no suspect vehicle. They fled the scene,” Mecimore says. “And then it looks like the investigating officer had given out a description of the vehicle and the damage that was expected to be on the vehicle and another officer came across that vehicle.”

Mecimore says that officers questioned the suspect when the vehicle was found on Thursday.

“She, at the very least, told him that she thought she’d hit a deer,” Mecimore says.

On Friday, police arrested 58-year-old Maureen Rogers, of Charlesberry Lane, on a felony charge of hit and run. The charge was elevated to a felony level due to the injuries sustained by the pedestrian, according to police.

Rogers appeared before a magistrate and was released on a $3,500 unsecured bon.

She was scheduled to appear in court on Monday morning.

http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/chapel-hill-woman-charged-with-felony-hit-and-run

Winter Storm Safety Tips

With our area experiencing a serious bout of winter weather, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Kirby Saunders, has some tips to keep you safe and warm.

“Anytime there is a significant snow storm and there is the potential for accumulation of ice, the potential is always there for power outages,” said Saunders.

If you lose power due to a downed power line, make sure you stay clear and call authorities.

“If you are experiencing a power outage, and if you don’t have down trees or down power lines but your power’s out, you should contact your utility provider unless there is an emergency such as fire or sparking or arcing,” said Saunders.

Even if your power goes out, avoid the temptation to bring in that gas grill from the porch to warm you up.

“Never try to bring in anything that uses fuel to produce heat so a gas grill or even a charcoal grill, anything that uses some type of fuel to burn, to generate heat, that’s a bad thing to do to bring it inside because the carbon monoxide can get you pretty quickly,” said Saunders.

With temperatures below freezing it is also important to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. Keep the faucet dripping or open your cabinets to allow heat to reach the pipes.

Saunders says the best idea is to play it safe, with icy conditions even your front steps can become a hazard.

“So the best course of action is to stay indoors during the store and immediately afterwards. Even just trying to walk to on snowy or icy walkways can be dangerous so if you don’t have to be out the best course is to stay inside,” said Saunders.

But if you have to venture outside, make sure to use caution.

“Another thing that is often overlooked is to limit your time outside but mainly don’t overexert yourself if your shoving snow, especially if your elderly or young or if you have medical problems,” said Saunders.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/winter-storm-safety-tips

Holiday Safety Tips

The Chapel Hill Police Department has some tips to share this holiday season to keep you and your home safe.

Chapel Hill Police say they experience higher rates of property crime during the holiday season and are increasing patrols in residential areas. The following holiday safety tips will assure you have a safe and happy holiday:

– Never leave any packages in your vehicle in plain sight. Always take them with you or lock them in your trunk.

– Never leave any personal items in your vehicle in plain sight. This includes money, credit cards, cell phones, purses and GPS Units. Take these items with you when you leave your vehicle.

– Always lock and secure all doors and windows on your home and vehicles.

-Leave a radio or TV on to give the impression that someone is home. Another good idea is to place lights on a timer and utilize motion activated lights on the outside of your home.

– If you receive an expensive or large gift, such as a TV, don’t leave the box in front of your house as an invitation to thieves. Rather dispose of the box in another container or turn the box inside out.

– When you leave, turn your heat down low but don’t shut it off completely to avoid the pipes freezing.

– The Chapel Hill Police Department is offering house checks while you’re gone. Go to Chapel Hill Police House Checks to sign up.

http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/holiday-safety-tips

Pedestrian Struck in Chapel Hill

A pedestrian was struck near Chapel Hill Town Hall on Monday evening.

Chapel Hill Police officials confirmed that a 26-year-old graduate student at UNC was struck while in the crosswalk.

The driver in the incident was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to officials.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/pedestrian-struck-in-chapel-hill

Police Make Arrest In July Sexual Assault Case

Local police on Wednesday made an arrest in a sexual assault case dating back to July.

Chapel Hill police had been looking for 26-year-old David Michael Edwards, Jr., for several weeks. On September 29, they issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of second-degree rape.

Wednesday at 6:00 pm, authorities finally caught up with Edwards coming out of a building at 300 East Main Street in Carrboro. He was taken into custody without incident; he’s currently being held in Orange County Jail.

The reported assault took place on July 11, downtown near 100 East Franklin Street. The female victim was transported to UNC Hospitals.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/police-make-arrest-in-five-month-old-sexual-assault-case

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt on SACS, NOA, Silent Sam and more

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt has just started her third academic year at the helm of UNC. She spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about a number of campus-related topics.

You can hear the different segments of the discussion below:

Folt discusses her major priorities for the new year and a self-evaluation of her first two years on the job:

 

Folt on what she is hearing from the Carolina community in the wake of the ongoing NCAA investigation and accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

 

Folt on the recent spray paintings of Silent Sam and the renaming of Saunders Hall.

 

Folt on campus issues including underage drinking, sexual assault, and overall campus safety.

 

Folt on college affordability and accessibility as well as her vision of the future of the university.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-chancellor-carol-folt-on-sacs-noa-silent-sam-and-more

Cyclist Hit at Franklin-Columbia Intersection on Tuesday

A female cyclist was transported to UNC Hospitals on Tuesday afternoon after being struck by a vehicle, Chapel Hill Police confirmed on Wednesday.

WCHL first reported the collision based off of eye-witness reports that the crash occurred around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets.

A police official says the cyclist suffered “serious but not life-threatening” injuries.

The spokesperson adds the driver of the vehicle stopped and was cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing.

No further information is available at this time concerning the status of the cyclist.

http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/cyclist-hit-at-franklin-columbia-intersection-on-tuesday

Police, Sheriff’s Office Look To Build New Community Relationships

When it comes to how safe people feel in our community, Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood says, “People’s perception becomes their reality.”

While Chapel Hill and Orange County are, overall, safe places to live and work, recent local events such as the shooting of three Muslim college students have left many unsettled.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue says the shooting opened his eyes to segments of the population who don’t feel connected to law enforcement.

“We learned very clearly there, where we thought we had just about every portion of our community served, a significant portion of our community -area Muslims- didn’t feel real connected to law enforcement or a broader array of services,” says Blue.

Additionally, national protests sparked by the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri have many questioning the role police play when called to intervene.

Blue says it’s important to build community relationships before tragedy strikes.

“I think it’s something you have to stay at all the time and be finding ways to be together and communicate and build relationships so you’re not exchanging business cards on the day of a crisis,” says Blue. “When you really need to draw on those relationships is not the time to form them.”

Blackwood agrees and says his deputies are piloting a program to meet residents in local fire stations as a way to build trust in the community.

“We’re stating to embrace the idea of, if one of our officers needs to talk with someone in a community that’s not close to our office, and it can’t be held on the telephone, we’re asking them to meet us at the fire station,” says Blackwood. “The citizen learns a little about what that fire station stands for, they feel comfortable walking across that threshold, and they’re likely to come back if they need something.”

Orange County Justice United Member Stephanie Perry said in order to build trust throughout the community police and residents need to address their implicit biases.

“We have got to get back to a place where we are humanizing people versus de-humanizing people, and we have got to get to a place where we are relying less and less on weapons of destruction and more on tools that foster love and humanity between us,” says Perry. “I know that sounds idealistic, but it’s really not.”

Blue and Blackwood say confronting bias is a continuous process for their officers.

“Your own confrontation of your bias is a unique and personal journey, yet we all have a responsibility for that reflection and analysis,” says Blue. “When in you’re in positions of some authority or public responsibility, the expectation that your journey is moving along at a faster pace is a reasonable one to have, because it should, to meet that community expectation that you are well on your way.”

You can listen to the full discussion from the 2015 WCHL forum panel on safety and tolerance here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/police-sheriffs-office-look-to-build-new-community-relationships

CHPD To Patrol Crosswalks In February: Bike And Pedestrian Safety

This month, Chapel Hill Police will continue monitoring specific streets and crosswalks throughout town, as part of their ongoing initiative to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.

On Wednesday, February 4, from 8:45-9:45 a.m., officers will be near campus, monitoring the area around Country Club Road, Boundary Street and Battle Lane. On Thursday at the same time, officers will be posted on Columbia Street at the UNC Health Sciences Building.

Next Tuesday, February 10, officers will monitor South Columbia Street between Franklin Street and Cameron Avenue, also from 8:45-9:45 in the morning. Then on Tuesday, February 24, from 7:30-8:30 a.m., officers will be stationed on Raleigh Road at Glen Lennox.

It’s all to make sure drivers, bikers and pedestrians are following the rules of the road, especially around crosswalks. Officers may cite violations, including drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or pedestrians who cross against the signals. Fines and court costs for those violations may cost you more than $200.

Those police patrols are part of a much larger initiative the Town is undertaking to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety.

For more information on how to stay safe on the roads (for drivers, bikers and pedestrians), visit this page on the town’s website.

If you’d like to share your concerns about bike and pedestrian safety with the Town of Chapel Hill – including specific areas where safety is a particular issue – visit this page.

http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/chpd-patrol-crosswalks-february-bike-pedestrian-safety

DOT Preparing for Long Night as Inclement Weather Looms

The possibility of inclement weather throughout our area has led to the state Department of Transportation going into overdrive to prepare the roadways.

Mark Mueller is the Communication Officer for the division of the DOT that oversees Orange County, and he says they have been watching the forecast to most efficiently prepare.

“It’s looking like .01 – .12” of accumulation,” he says. “The potential for down tree lines usually happens at .25 – .5” – so it does not look like that’s going to be happening.”

Mueller adds crews have been preparing all day to ensure the equipment will be up to the task for a long night’s work.

“We’re looking to have crews start around 7 o’clock [Tuesday] evening,” he says. “And we’re expecting 30 – 35 people on hand.”

Mueller says the lingering rain has caused a change of plans for how they typically prepare thoroughfares.

“They’re not planning, at this point, to put down any salt brine, since there’s rain in the forecast,” he says. “But they’re likely going to be putting down the hard salt.

“[It will be put down] at a minimum on the bridges, likely on the roads – depending on how the forecast comes.”

Mueller says the DOT is advising commuters to stay off the roadways, if at all possible, and to exercise caution if you are traveling.

http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/dot-preparing-long-night-inclement-weather-looms