Man found guilty of dumping waste near Shenandoah River

A Virginia Beach man accused of dumping human waste from a charter bus near the Shenandoah River was found guilty Tuesday in Warren County General District Court.

Marshaw McCleary, the driver of the America DC Limousine charter bus, brought a group of people to the Downriver Canoe Company in Bentonville on July 8. McCleary then opened a valve under the bus and dumped the waste from it into a drainage ditch on Indian Hollow Road, next to a canal for the river, County Attorney Dan Whitten said.

An employee with the canoe company witnessed McCleary stop the bus on the side of the road before coming back to the business, and noticed that the drainage pipe was leaking and smelled like sewage, Whitten said. The deputy who responded to the scene saw a 300-400 foot path of sewage, pieces of toilet paper and fecal matter between the ditch and the business, Whitten added.

McCleary was charged with dumping trash on a highway. His defense was that he hit a tree at some point and that may have dislodged the cap to the waste container, Whitten said, but the deputy testified that it had to have been manually done and that there was no damage to the newer-model bus.

“He denied the accusations in court, but basically the judge found that there wasn’t any reason for the valve to come open and the cap to come off unless he manually did that,” Whitten said.

As a result of being found guilty,  McCleary is now required to pay $1,500 of a $2,500 fine, and was placed on one year of unsupervised probation. McCleary has 10 days from the decision date to appeal the judge’s ruling to circuit court.

“We just want to stop this issue,” Whitten said, noting the pollution that the dumping causes. “We welcome the visitors to the county, but they need to wait to dump the sewage until they get back to where they came from.”

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