Virginia Tech students ask town, police for action after drunk driving crash off-campus

‘Call a friend, call an Uber. Thirty bucks is worth the lives of others.’

Asking questions about how town leaders and police are handling partying at a popular spot off campus.

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Wednesday was a quiet day around Center Street in Blacksburg, but just days earlier, the scene nearby on Harrell Street was jaw-dropping.

A drunk driver, identified as a student and football player at Virginia Tech, crashed his car into three other vehicles, flipping his own early Saturday morning.

Jamieson Edmonds, a senior at Virginia Tech, lives on Center Street and saw the aftermath.

“We looked through our window and just saw the cops,” said Edmonds. “I was like ‘I hope this person didn’t die.’ Because that’s like devastating to everyone: community, their family, everyone. And then that other people didn’t get hurt.”

Edmonds says increased police patrols late at night could help get drunk drivers off the roads. But she says there’s a bigger issue at play

“There’s like not a good connection between police and student life here,” said Edmunds. “There’s not good communication and trust, I feel like, with the two parties.”

John Paul Williams, a senior at Virginia Tech studying mechanical engineering, says getting behind the wheel is never the answer.

“Call a friend, call an Uber. Thirty bucks is worth the lives of others,” said Williams.

However, he says increasing police presence might not be the solution.

“I’m not sure that will deter students,” said Williams.

Tailgating off-campus — particularly on Center Street — is an ongoing issue in Blacksburg. The topic was addressed by town council just last month.

10 News repeatedly reached out to town leaders and police for a comment on the most recent crash’s impact on public safety but did not hear back.

A Virginia Tech spokesperson declined to comment on this case because the university cannot comment on an individual student or off-campus matters.

With graduation coming up and more parties likely in the works, these students say something needs to change

“There’s a bunch of different sectors and they don’t work together and I think that’s probably the biggest thing,” said Edmonds.

Students and residents who didn’t want to talk on camera also suggested designated driver programs where volunteer drivers or designated drivers paid by the town could safely get students home. They also said it could help if police added more DUI checkpoints.


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