Louisa News

Portsia Smith covers Louisa County crime and news.

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Charges placed in Louisa High vandalism

Charges have been placed against four Orange County High School students in connection to vandalism at Louisa County High School last week.

Major Donald Lowe of the Louisa Sheriff’s Office said yesterday that deputies plan to serve two adults and two juveniles with misdemeanor vandalism. All four are students at Orange High, he said.

He said deputies have talked to three of the suspects and are trying to locate the fourth. More details are expected to be released today.

Last Friday morning, Louisa school officials found graffiti spray-painted on the high school’s football field and press box just hours before Louisa was to play rival Orange in both team’s first football game of the season.

Lowe said “typical high school rivalry stuff” was spray-painted on the school’s property. One example was “This is Orange Country.”

The Louisa and Orange County sheriffs’ offices along with school officials worked together to investigate the incident. Early on, they believed it to be related to the long-standing rivalry between the two schools.

Louisa Schools spokeswoman Jaclyn O’Laughlin said “we’re grateful for their quick investigation of the vandalism and for catching who did it.”

According to the top Orange school official, there will be other consequences.

“If Orange County students are charged in Louisa County,” said Superintendent of Schools Bob Grimesey, “they can expect disciplinary action as if they’d committed the action against our own school property.”

The school vandalism occured just a week and a half after an earthquake struck on Aug. 23, with its epicenter in the heart of Louisa County. Six students suffered minor injuries. All six county schools were closed and two–Louisa High and Thomas Jefferson Elementary– suffered major damage.

O’Laughlin said representatives from U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) toured Louisa High and Thomas Jefferson Elementary yesterday to assess the damage.

According to VDEM, more than 20 aftershocks have been felt in the state since the original 5.8-magnitude earthquake. The latest aftershock occured early Wednesday morning about four miles south of Mineral and was a 2.1 magnitude, according to data form the U.S. Geological Survey.

O’Laughlin said neither agency has released any reports or information about the school system getting any state or federal assistance.

She said structural engineers hired by school officials should know in about a month or so if the two schools “can be rebuilt or need to be condemned.”

Schools in Louisa and Orange are scheduled to open on Monday.

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