I-81 bridge named after slain Virginia State Trooper

VSP Killed in line of duty Dowell

A bridge on Interstate 81 is being named after fallen Virginia State Police Trooper Lucas Dowell. The Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate both unanimously passed a resolution this month to name a bridge in Smyth County after the officer. The bridge crosses over Whitetop Road and is located in Chilhowie. Dowell graduated from Chilhowie High School in 2009. The trooper died on Feb. 4 after being hit by gunfire while executing a search warrant at a residence in Cumberland County. Dowell was serving on the tactical team assisting the Piedmont Regional Drug and Task Force. Police returned fire and killed the suspect, identified as Corey Johnson, 44. Now that the bill has passed, the Virginia Department of Transportation would place and maintain appropriate markers indicating the designation of the bridge. The Senate passed it unanimously on Feb. 20 and the House passed it unanimously on Feb. 23. An effort also is underway to name bridge over the U.S. 29 Bypass at the Ambriar exit into the town of Amherst after Dowell. The petition was started by Steve Martin, owner of Martin's Body and Paint Shop in Amherst. Dowell was assigned to patrol Lynchburg and Amherst and Campbell counties and was based at the state police’s office in the Town of Amherst.