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UPDATE: Bodies of missing woman, children found in Leesburg creek

The bodies of a missing Suffolk woman and two children last seen in Ashburn were found lifeless in a Leesburg creek Monday.

The three victims – Courtney Ashe, 27, Jalen C. Sills-Russel, 9, and Kameron A. Martin, 5 -- were last seen alive Friday and reported missing to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday.

Ashe, a Dominion High School graduate, left a family residence in Ashburn Friday with the two children. She had traveled from another home in the Leesburg area with Jalen, a cousin, to pick up her son, Kameron, according to LCSO. The three were expected to return to the residence in Leesburg, but they never arrived.

A family member of the victims found Ashe's turned-over car in Sycolin Creek Monday afternoon and notified local authorities and rescue crews. The vehicle appears to have lost control and left the roadway. The Leesburg area was deluged with rain Friday afternoon, which may have contributed to the accident and hindered the ensuing search efforts.

“You see a car overturned, and you’re hoping they’re still alive in there. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the case,” Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman (R) said. “This is a notoriously tough road when it comes to weather conditions: the rain, the winding road and so forth. One lane each direction. So it’s not a great road to navigate in normal times, let alone during very bad weather.”

Rescue and emergency crews were seen responding near Evergreen Mills Road and Hogeland Mill Lane -- the area where the turned car was found -- around 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The incident is being treated as an accident with no foul play involved, said Chapman, who was reluctant to provide many specifics on the case until a medical examiner can inspect the bodies and his office can further investigate the scene.

Ashe leaves behind three young children, a set of 3-year-old twins and a 2-month-old.

“If you knew Courtney, you know she always was a sunbeam in a dull picture. She had a huge heart and would help anyone, regardless if she had it or not,” reads a post on a GoFundMe page established to help cover funeral expenses.

Anyone with information that may be related to the incident is asked to call police at 703-777-1021.



A roadblock near Sycolin Creek in Leesburg, where a car was found flipped over Monday. Times-Mirror/Alexander Erkiletian


Comments


Roads don’t kill people, speed, distracted, drunk and/or bad drivers do.


Such an unnecessary tragedy most likely caused by driver error.  My heart aches for her surviving children.


Rude Loudoun- it seems to me that it is you that are the one who came here to make a political point. I am all for wild life conservation. In fact I base my livelihood on it as I help people around their world to protect diminishing eco-systems. I want the rest of Loudoun and the waterways to be protected. However, when people have been allowed to flood into Loudoun, and there are now large housing communities throughout what used to be rural areas, and the county continues to allow growth whether you and I like it or not, county officials are then also responsible for the safety of Loudoun’s inhabitants. This is simple logic. If I have an area where 1000 people live, and then I allow 10,000 more people to move in, then I am responsible to make sure they have a proper infrastructure to keep them safe. There are hundreds of thousands of people driving on these rural roads everyday. Don’t you want your family to be safe on those roads? Often times people find themselves head on with deer on these roads with no other place to divert to than a ditch, a tree or in this case, a creek. Sadly, I watched the family of these victims visit the creek today. They brought balloons. Can you imagine their grief? The road at the creek goes into a little bit of a depression although it is known to swell a hundred times its regular size during heavy rains. We are voicing our anger over this. We are voicing our anger over the fact that so many people have been brought into Loudoun and that so many shopping areas and housing communities have been erected but the roads have NOT CHANGED. I drive Evergreen Mills 4 to 6 times a day. I know this road well. I see the dangerous things that go on on this road. I see the numerous accidents at the Spors Plex and Ryan’s Road. I see the cars that fall into the ditch coming on Evergreen from Belmont Ridge because there is a deep ditch right there when you make a left turn. If you are off a few inches you will be in the ditch. I see the deer that is cut in half in the middle of Evergreen yet still alive. I see people’s cats and dogs dead on the side of the road. I saw the boat that was left by someone on the side of the road that caused the death of a 19 year old man. In fact, the owner of the boat did not live on Evergreen at all. I see the motorcycles that illegally skip the cars. I see the cars that illegally weave around cars not going 60. I see the numerous cars that are scared to death of driving down this road but won’t pull over for traffic although they are going 30 in a 55 mile zone. I see the jogger who crossed her little children on bikes across Evergreen, the equivalent of crossing ones children across 66. I see the multitudes of bicyclists who drive this road, won’t pull over for traffic and will make cars travel for five miles behind them at 10 miles an hour. I see the cyclists who are almost run over when a car going legal speed turns a corner and is suddenly frightened by the fact that they nearly killed someone.


rude, it sounds much more as if I struck a nerve on PEC, hence diminishing me takes precedence over offering condolences.

I am saddened that these people joined the ranks of the many who have died, and will continue to do so on our terrible roads.

I am angered that the roads are not likely to improve any time soon, and that many people are not only fine with that, but work to ensure that.

I stand behind my opinion in agreeing with other posters that this road is unsafe, and needs improvement.

I stand behind my opinion in agreeing with at least one other poster that much of Loudoun is not rural any more—it is not.

I definitely stand behind the fact that in 20 years PEC has supported NOTHING in road improvements anywhere in the county.

I stand behind the fact that they are a multimillion dollar lobbying enterprise that devotes a great deal of time and money against road improvements.

I agree that some of these things are VDOT issues—which is why the PEC has workshops every year to train people to go on a field trip to Richmond with them, to lobby the General Assembly, including against road improvements.

It is convenient to claim I “hate” the rural area, but the fact is I am saddened and angered whenever someone dies on one of our substandard roads, which happens all too often.

And yes, I have no patience with people whose position is one of attrition-based “planning”, that accepts a certain level of danger (for others) in the name of personal ambience.


Such a sad tragedy. Three beautiful lives lost. My heart breaks for the family and loved ones. God bless them and may He bring them peace and comfort.


It was only a matter of time.

Barbara Munsey, hater of the rural west and especially the Piedmont Environmental Council has come out of her self imposed internet exile.

Kudos Babs- nothing like using the tragic death of a family to take the opportunity to bash the PEC. We’ve missed you ‘cause you so classy baby!

BTW armchair road planners- Virginia Highways (of which Evergreen Mills is one) are a State responsibility. You want lower speed limits? You want safer roads? You want guardrails?

Good luck, you’ll be dealing with the flat earthers in Richmond. The GOP runs the show and they don’t spend money in the North.

My condolences to the grieving family. I’m sorry this thread hasn’t been about your loved ones.


In reviewing that picture…what a great use of taxpayer dollars. 2 of the Loudon county finest just standing there as a barricade. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to put concrete dividers temporarily and have these 2 finest cops catch some criminals?


if you feel it is a waste of your time to attend in person, recall I said “write” too.  (first, in fact)

In-person creates a bigger impact, of course, which is why the activist nonprofits arrange 20 people in the same t shirt reading the same remarks they got from their non-profit email update talking points.

If you can’t go or don’t want to, write with your opinions for the record.

A personal note creates a bigger impact than the 100 forwarded “personalize this!” “suggested” letters from the same ultimate source, that many who send them forget to actually “insert your representative’s name here!”

Plenty of people take direct action to prevent road improvements;  anyone who actually wants some will have to take action too.


Attending a public hearing does very little except waste my time to hear a bunch of egos of how great I am for this county… Just poor planning, makes you wonder why we even have a planning group? And of course VDOT is always AWOL on any road issue, stop signs, lack of red lights at 4 ways or the poor timing of Lights. But they sure can have 100 trucks sitting alongside the road 4 hours before a dusting of snow.


Unfortunately, in a by-right state, developers can only be required to address the immediate impacts of any building IF they build to existing approved use/BY RIGHT density.

This is why you see two-lane roads that suddenly have a turn lane for an entrance to a large lot development with no sidewalks or streetlights, but no road improvements beyond that.

In a rezoning, developers do proffer road improvements, but they are set with triggers, i.e. this many lanes will be added when this much square footage or this many units are built, and setting triggers is a bit of a crapshoot:  to build the expensive improvements they have to be able to pay for them, so they do have to sell something, but the market ultimately determines the pace of the building, and thus the proffered improvements.

UsedToLiveInTheCountry has it right—we have a mindset here that the entire county is STILL rural, and engaged in active farming coast to coast.

If people want things to change on our grossly unsafe roads, they need to do what the “nonprofits” and their fellow travelers/useful idiots do:  they need to show up at public hearings, and give their opinions along with all the people who show up from their low-density homes in the “country” that are paid for with a city job and a five-day-a-week 60-80 mile roundtrip commute, who say “if we improve the roads more people will drive on them and I want the orads to just be for ME.  And my bicycle.  And my horse.  And maybe my neighbor,  and the occasional guest.  BUT nobody visiting a winery or brewery!  OR commuting (just like ME).  People just have to learn to not drive here.”

As far as I’m concerned, the obstructionists bear some responsibility every time someone dies on a road that SHOULD be improved, but is not because of the demands of the few, the vocal, the entitled.

The opportunity exists right now to have input on rte 15 north of Leesburg.  I suggest people take it, and every opportunity to do so on roads.

The Piedmont Environmental Council pays people to lobby against roads, so you will be up against a multimillion dollar enterprise on the side of attrition, stagnation, and continued danger.

Write your supervisor.  Attend public hearings.  Do NOT support any feel-good endeavors of groups whose only concern is their OWN environment.  That is how this continues, and continues to worsen.

In the 20 years I’ve been here, I have NEVER seen the PEC support ANY proposed road improvement.  Ever.  And, back to paragraph one, they come to EVERY public hearing on proposed development to demand by-right density and no more (meaning, NO road improvements beyond those occasional lonely turn lanes).  They are who you have to “thank” for a great deal of the continuing dangerous stasis of the system.


+1 on Evergreen Mills being a death trap.  Belmont Ridge, especially just south of Truro Parish, isn’t much better.

My condolences to the family and friends.


I agree, developers should be made to pay to widen that road. The BOS need to require these developer widen the road before they even build 1 house. Sycolin Rd and Belmont Ridge RD are two examples. They continue to allow developers to build more housing then these roads allow.


I second that. I live on Gleedsville and have avoided Evergreen completely for years, it’s a death trap in my opinion and this tragedy didn’t have to happen. I feel sick about it.
We used to go to the gym and movie theater in Brambleton but after a few very close calls with deer and speeding commuters riding our bumper we stopped driving Evergreen completely, not worth the risk! This whole area is getting more and more populated and our roads need to keep up; safe shoulders to pull off, reflectors on the lanes and around curves, barriers in places that could result in the terrible accident this family had - it’s not a safe road!


Not sure how many more deaths are needed on Evergreen Mills Rd. before the Loudoun “government” starts taking some responsibility. I live on “agricultural” land on Evergreen. This land is no longer agricultural. We have been surrounded by housing, shopping centers and a soon to be Walmart. Evergreen Mills has been flooded from traffic from EIGHT schools on this road plus a SportPlex. There is one death after another on this road, not to mention the numerous deer and pets that are killed on this road on a daily basis. The county needs to stop pretending this area is rural. There are almost to guard rails. There are no lights. There are no reflectors, however, THOUSANDS of people are driving up and down this extremely dangerous road every day. Some people think it is even fun to ride bicycles on this road. Well guess what? This road is a 55 MPH two lane country road, is extremely curvy, full of trees and blind spots. Imagine coming around the bend to a bike going 10 miles per hour. Now here this poor woman was on one of the worst nights of rain on one of the most dangerous roads. This amount of population has no business on this two lane road. But since they are Evergreen needs to be expanded and made safe for drivers. The road needs proper cement guard rails where there is a chance of plunging off the road- which is at least 10-20 % of the road. In an attempt to keep the place “scenic” the county is endangering the lives of many. On my way home today on this very road I was forced to turn off to another road just for my back tire to miss the road and rip wide open. I couldn’t even make it home. This is the kind of terrain that is on this road. On the night this lady disappeared a flood warning was issued for this issue. I was coming off Rt. 7 almost at Evergreen at that time. I can not imagine what this poor lady faced coming around that bend when flooding conditions hit. No reflectors. No cement guards to keep someone from plunging feet below. Stop the madness on Evergreen Mills.

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