pittsylvania county

Charges pending in deadly crash near Tightsqeeze

Virginia State Police have released more details in Thursday’s deadly crash near Tightsqueeze.

The collision happened at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday on U.S. 29 slightly north of U.S. 29 business in the Tightsqueeze area.

Authorities reported a transport truck — described as a 2017 Peterbilt 330 — was going north on U.S. 29 when it ran off the right side of the road and hit a guardrail, according to a news release from Virginia State Police Sgt. Richard Garletts.

The truck then crossed the southbound lanes, ran through a median and hit a 2014 Nissan Rogue that was traveling north, the release stated.

State police identified the driver of the Rogue as 63-year-old Josephine Gee, of Chatham. She was wearing a seat belt and died at the scene.

“The information for the driver of the Peterbilt is not available at this time and charges are pending,” Garletts wrote in the news release.

Police still are investigating.

— Charles Wilborn

Former Virginia Tech researcher sentenced to probation

ROANOKE — A former Virginia Tech scientist found guilty of conspiring to commit federal grant fraud has been sentenced to probation.

The Roanoke Times reported the federal judge sentencing Yiheng “Percival” Zhang said Friday he didn’t find a need for prison time, given Zhang didn’t profit personally from his crime and lost his career and reputation.

Zhang was a celebrated biological systems engineering professor who was born in China and became a U.S. citizen. In 2017, he was charged with defrauding Virginia Tech, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The complaint alleged Zhang filed for grants to get money for work that already had been completed.

Zhang, was convicted this year of conspiracy to defraud the government, making false statements on applications and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted of 19 other counts.

— From wire reports

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—Charles Wilborn

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